Holidays bring joy.
I can play with toys all day!
Though I sure love naps.
My husband Richard passed away three years ago tonight, but I find myself celebrating in a way.
Sure his life was cut too short, and his early onset dementia was cruel, yet most of his days were good ones.
It seems Richard knew how to live well.
His life was never a rich one monetarily, but it was in experiences, accomplishments, and in his work with the arts community.
Richard also knew how to laugh.
And mostly, at himself.
The first time I met Richard at a dinner party, he was already making the others guests hysterical while describing a crazy New Year’s Eve just spent with an elderly aunt in Boston.
And Richard would always be the first to chuckle at the graduate school pictures of himself from the 70’s with his long brown hair, skinny torso, and Barnaby Street bell bottom suits.
By the time I met him a decade later at the party, he was sporting instead a marine cut, balding white hair, and a slight Santa pot belly masked under preppy flannels.
I believe I admired most Richard’s ability to share his loving heart with others.
And often to those with the greatest need.
Richard was the first to mention the idea of adopting a very special 12 year old girl from Russia. And did he ever LOVE to spoil this girl after our adoption was finalized and we all came back together to the U.S.
That special girl grew to become one very special lady. She, along with her young family, came over today for a belated Christmas celebration.
We had a joyful time dancing in our family room and I hadn’t thought about today’s anniversary until she pulled out one of Richard’s old graduate school photos from her purse. I then glanced briefly at some later photos of Richard on the book shelves behind her and smiled.
Perhaps in this last week of 2016, I should now be thinking about jotting down my resolutions for the new year.
Like lose that extra ten pounds or find the best job ever.
But I don’t really need too.
I’ve just realized my resolutions have been right here behind me in my family room, and in bold, ever since I down sized into my new home.
Just three short words can say it all, and I will practice them every day.
“Live, laugh, love.”
Sounds like a whole lot more fun than going on a diet.
And after all, life is just too short.
My mystery mix pup Rex joined me right before Christmas.
I quickly discovered the little guy was smitten with my small collection of Christmas decorations.
This morning I caught Rex chewing the edge of a small holiday box I’d recently put away in the basement.
He barked excitedly to get my attention.
I walked over to calm Rex down and see what was inside.
Pulling off the tissue, I found the flea market Santa’s Helper planter I’d bought during our November’s Farmers Market.
Rex looked very pleased as I slowly lifted it out
I’ve been told my handsome man does have an elfin appearance, just like the image in the planter.
Rex began to whimper as I began to wrap the piece back up.
He looked up at me with his very best pout.
“Hey Rex,” I said. “What if we leave it out and fill it with candy hearts for Valentine’s Day?
My little handsome man yipped in agreement and gave me one slobbery kiss.
He then did his best happy dance over to his pup bed for a long winter’s nap.
There’s just nothing like another magical holiday to wear a boy out.
I’d nearly forgotten that it was two years ago tonight when my husband Richard passed until I saw a reminder on Facebook this morning.
I surely had forgotten how to celebrate Christmas in the days and years leading up to Richards’s death and right after.
But this year, I awoke from the ghosts of Christmas past to a new Christmas.
And it’s a simpler one.
The Christmas tree and the decorations went in a recent move. But they were replaced with a single garland, a string of lights on the mantle, and a handful of ornaments from my daughter.
I found it was enough.
I then went and bought myself a Christmas gift.
It’s a memoir by a local writer I once knew.
And I opened my door and heart to a new dog from the shelter.
That, too, was enough.
Or maybe more so. Time will tell.
And when I attended a crowded church service this week, I gave up my spot to a father and son who were late.
I’d already sung my carols.
It was time for the young.
After driving home on slick roads afterwards, I checked my mailbox for bills.
I found a small box next to it, covered in ice and firmly glued to the front step.
After carefully prying it off, I found a simple candle inside etched with a tree of life.
It’s bright and full of warmth when lit.
Tonight I see the light.
And it’s glowing right before me through that tree.
I have choral music playing softly on public radio.
And the dogs are at my feet.
Together, we’re singing new songs this Christmas.
Busy making our own kind of music.
It seems that Grandma Greta has a hangover this morning after a little too much partying last night.
The soon to be 16 year old, 6 pounder spent New Year’s Eve perfecting her new sport of channel surfing.
She tweaked her tiny toe tapping technique just enough so she could seamlessly switch back and forth with the remote watching Pitbull, her favorite rapper, while ‘shaking if off’ with Taylor Swift.
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
Once Greta managed to come to this morning, we decided to catch up on some reading together.
While conducting a Google search on her beloved singer Pitbull, Greta pointed out an article indicating pitbulls, black dogs, and chihuahuas are the hardest canines to place in homes.
Greta, being a black chi-doxie mix herself looked a little anxious and blue with that news.
I thought I better take action.
“Hey Greta, but check this other article out. It seems as we grow older, people who volunteer for two or more organizations have much better health. Maybe we should step up our altruistic efforts again and see if we can help out our canine friends”.
I then pulled up a website for an animal rescue group we have assisted before by fostering dogs.
Pedro, one handsome 12 year old chihuahua with ears even bigger than Greta’s, immediately caught her eye.
Greta’s always had a thing for younger men.
“Greta, he surely is a looker but apparently has a foster already. But take a look at the smiling handsome senior black pug in this pic. He’s only 11!
With that, Greta joyfully jumped off the couch doing a perfect happy dance.
I just love how that girl can still just shake it off.