Monday, December 14, 2009

The Christmas Spirit

That Girl is having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit.

My grandfather passed away two years ago this month and since his passing I have been late to prepare for the holidays. The year he died we didn't get our tree until December 22 and I hadn't done any shopping whatsoever. Perhaps there is part of me that needs to wait until the anniversary passes to really feel like I can celebrate. On Saturday we got our tree, came home, made Tom & Jerry's and toasted Grandpa. I miss him terribly, especially during the holidays.

Grandpa was larger than life. Every Christmas his booming "Ho, ho, ho!" woke me up before dawn. Although he rarely showed emotion, I think he was as excited as his granddaughters, all of whom he affectionately called Pedro, or Sam, or George depending on the day. His Tom & Jerry's were legendary; they would, as he often said, put hair on your chest. His laughter, though rare, was infectious and thrilling. There's nothing we girls loved more than to make him laugh.

Grandpa was a tease. But we all knew that the more he teased the more that meant he loved us. And his teasing was as funny to me at 35 as it was at 5. I don't think any of us ever questioned his love or his joy in being surrounded by a family of all women (wife, mother-in-law, 3 daughters, and 6 granddaughters) -- strong, willful women, at that.

This morning, I made oatmeal for Big J, little j and I, and I was reminded of all my breakfasts growing up. There were very few days that Grandpa didn't make a hot breakfast for me and oatmeal was among my favorites. This was not the instant kind -- I'm talking about the cook on the stove top kind. I was reminded this morning how good it is -- hearty, creamy, and filling. It's a breakfast you can count on to keep you going.

I don't think there was a day that I couldn't count on my grandfather. He was always there for me, even through rough patches. He was the kind of father and grandfather you could count on to keep you going.

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