This year was the first Christmas for:
- Not having Pops with us. My father-in-law is not dead. But, he's been stricken with Alzheimer's and this is his first Christmas where he didn't even realize it was Christmas and was not with the family.
- Coincidentally, this was the first Christmas where Ty's whole family did not get together at one time. The celebration was supposed to be at our house this year. But, due to weather and schedules, not more than one of her brothers or sister was here at a time. Shell came the Friday before Christmas. Derrick came the Sunday before Christmas bringing Grandmother. Tim came the Sunday after Christmas. We did not see Kelly or Eric at all this year.
- Having one of the grandparents with us on Christmas day. Ten years ago, when Ty was pregnant with Shayna was our first Christmas in our own home. Since that time neither Ty nor I had seen our parents on Christmas day. This year, Grandmother joined us. It was a bittersweet time as we loved having her with us and the girls were thrilled to have their grandmother with them on Christmas day- first time ever for Shayna and for Kayla first time in memory. But, it was a reminder that Pops is no longer with us and the first time Grandmother wasn't in her own home for Christmas ever. It was also the first Christmas since she got married that she didn't make the Christmas dinner for.
- Having no children in the house who believe in Santa. Last year, Shayna was pretty sure there was no Santa. But, this year she wasn't afraid to say it out loud. Most of their presents were wrapped this year and there was nothing to assemble, no cookies and milk to put out. We actually went to bed before midnight.
- Having a teenager in the house. Kayla turned 13 in November. She still asked for a couple of toys (she'd be mortified if her little teeny-bopper buddies found out). But, the days of girlish joy about Christmas are behind us with Kayla.
- No one said "This is the best Christmas ever!" When Kayla was younger, she would announce on every birthday and every Christmas "This is the best birthday/Christmas ever!". When Shayna was old enough, she joined the tradition. Instead, this year Shayna announced "This is the best Christmas yet!" When I asked her why she changed the phrase, she said that she hadn't yet experienced all the Christmases to come so, it made more sense to just rate the ones that had already passed.
None of these firsts are things I really want to look forward to. There's a little sadness that comes with each Christmas as I realize I only have so many left and less to look forward to than I have to look back on. Kayla and Shayna's joy on Christmas morning as they discovered what Santa had brought brought back the joy I used to experience as a child. That's gone now. Maybe one day I'll experience it with grandchildren in my children's home. But, it won't be the same. But, I enjoyed my Christmas with the girls, Ty and Grandmother. It was different than Christmases past but still very good.