In years past when my children were younger, my kids would spend Christmas Eve with their mother which was always a very lonely night. I stayed home on this family holiday because being around other families without my kids then made me miss my kids more. Christmas Eve was for wrapping presents and watching Christmas movies.

My kids would arrive mid-afternoon on Christmas Day. We would open stocking gifts which are smaller, hopefully humorous gifts. A really good stocking gift is harder to find than a regular present. One year my brother Mark received a fish mounted on a plaque that would say outrageous things. That year my brother Joe gave me a jogging bra with the hope that I would have to return that saying that it did not fit. We would then head to my parents’ house Christmas Day. The whole family, including my mom, dad, eight siblings along with husbands, wives, kids, girlfriends and boyfriends, would all be present. Never boring and always fun. We would stay the night and sometimes two, then head to Tahoe to stay at what was The Resort at Squaw Creek (now known as Everline Resort). We would build snowmen and slide down the hill on disks. The kids loved to swim in the heated pool and hot tub surrounded by snow and mist rising in the cold mountain air. They would soak towels in the pool and then lay them on the cement to freeze somewhat solid. 

One year, when as a family we were watching the original Pink Panther movies, Patrick climbed up the outside of the stairs and waited for me in the dark. As I came in the front door to grab our luggage for the trip to Tahoe, Patrick screamed and jumped at me imitating Cato attacking Inspector Clouseau. He was essentially jumping from the second-floor top of the stairs over the hardwood floor. Needless to say, it shocked me, and I was barely able to catch him. I was off balance and that threw my back and shoulder out for a few months. 

As years went by, the kid took up snowboarding while I tried to keep up on skis. I was always passing them in the flat areas because I could use my poles. The kids had to push with one boot off of the snowboard. I bought a condo there and we kept a lot of personal items there for our visits. This was a family tradition for many years, until they both became involved in competitive soccer and holiday tournaments. We developed new memories with the soccer tournaments and the soccer families, but we weren’t together as a family as their tournaments were never in the same city or even state. We could not be all together as a family and participate. I often wonder if that was the best decision, but we can’t go back in time.

Wishing you and yours all the best and a truly blessed New Year!

john and kids  john and kids john and kids

john and kids john and kids

john and kids john and kids

john and kids

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