Christmastime has come and nearly gone and this is the first bit of time I've been able to sit down and write a few words for quasi-posterity. It has been a whole year now, since last Christmas Eve, when we said our long goodbye and headed north for Ireland.
I find myself thinking of you all week long; not in sad, homesick ways, but in happy memories of past adventures and wistful thoughts of one-too-many hands in the kitchen and white chocolate pretzels by the handful.
Our house is a happy one at the moment, to be sure. There's a dog now, and two grandmas, and Christmas movies and pie and coffee and sunshine. Ella has literally never been happier, as she squeaks puppy toys and cuddles with Cocoa on the couch. They sit there, all twisted up in blankets and I think this may be the best Christmas ever. Asher walks up and down the hallway with his guitar, dancing in the glare of the sliding glass doors, and Great-Grandma and I dance to his music. That moment or two where we swing hips side by side, laughing, will live on in infamy. Jack finished his lego masterpiece in record time and we each take pilgrimages to his room to survey the wonder. Mom sits with tea and a book, reading Seamus Heaney or cuddling a sick child. I eat pie. Lots and lots of pie.
But still... you are not here, and I am not with you. Oh sure, you have your own families as I have mine and I think this is adulthood and real life. Most everyone is separated by cities or states or oceans. We send e-greetings, trade photos and post on Facebook, together in spirit if not in person. I know you both wore red, that the boys were silly, there was ice on the ground and a candelight service or two. You've been kept abreast of our activities, pictures of Mom and Grandma on Killiney Hill, Jack leaning over a mixing bowl. We are not truly alone and apart, but still I am lonely for you.
So this Christmas, as you are huddled in Kansas City, as we plant ourselves deep in Dublin, know you are loved. You are missed. You are treasured this day and every day. And I long to sit near you, laughing and posing, ignoring the children maybe just a bit, lingering over the dinner table one minute longer.
The Irish homestead saves a place for you, a door forever open. And in May we will dance at a sister wedding. Christmas together can wait until then.
Sometimes I write letters to my sisters, women young and old brought to me through blood, circumstance and Jesus. Today I write for the two I share wedding photos and nephews and Christmas Eves with.
Who are you missing this time of year?