I only cried once. And I think I hid it pretty well. Shortly before the tears fell, I had yelled at Steve to keep his eyes on the very snowy and slippery road...so I don't think he even noticed. We were riding down the road to my parents' house in the snow and it was very quiet...too quiet. Suddenly, the feeling of that other life overwhelmed me. That life where we were riding to my parents' house in the minivan with Sam telling me all about what his baby brother was doing in the carseat next to him. I could hear the giggles and the laughter sure as if they were really happening. Maybe if I turned my head fast enough I could catch just a glimpse. I did get a glimpse of Sam...but he was all alone and there was no happy laughter. What would he have been wearing? How would I have kept him warm in this weather? We'll never know.
And so we arrived at my parents' house and my mother hugged me and waited for me to get my coat off before asking me how I was doing. When I said, "Fine." She asked, "Really?" I told her not to make me cry...and we left it at that.
We had a delicious dinner, thanks to mom's fabulous cooking. The desserts went over well. And the pumpkin pie got rave reviews, thank you very much.
After dinner, my sister and her husband brought out "pre-Christmas gifts." They had apparently travelled to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland and bought us each a new Christmas ornament for our tree(s). Each ornament meant something special to each recipient. Steve loves polar bears...he got a polar bear. I love moose...I got a moose. Sam loves trains...he got a train. It was really very sweet.
But more important to me than that was that they presented Steve and I with a blue ornament with Alex's name on it. It matches the red ornament they bought us for Sam's first Christmas. I said thank you, but it seemed so inadequate. With that simple little gesture, my sister and her husband welcomed Thanksgiving and Christmas open up to Alex's memory. I didn't cry...
He should have been sampling mashed potatoes and gravy. His uncle should have been throwing him up in the air and catching him. His big brother should be dancing around telling us all the exciting things he and his baby brother were enjoying about the day. His father and I should be smiling and happy and comfortable as we received his Christmas ornament.
I'm crying now.