If he could see me now

Talk about interesting—I just emailed my mother with a slightly condensed version of the events of the past ten days. I've had this urge to sing the events in order, in the style of "We Didn't Start The Fire."

Rather appropriate, given that a burning car was involved. Well, if nothing else, a nasty bout of stomach flu would explain to my mother why I haven't written her yet this week.

The guilt got to me this afternoon, so I went to work today. Being out of work for three days this week meant that I've left some clients hanging. My guilty conscience got the better of me, so I went in for about five hours today and bashed out several pages. It should, hopefully, be enough so that this particular client can meet her obligations. A couple of her pages require some extra DHTML that I just didn't have time to put together this evening. I was willing to get a lot done today, but at the same time I've already accepted that I'm going to have a short paycheck from this pay period because of the time I missed. Since I knew it was impossible to make up all the time I'd missed, I wasn't very willing to tire myself out by working all day on a Sunday. That, and if I didn't get the groceries bought, they weren't going to get bought.

In other news, kudos to Andy for finally making me read Sluggy Freelance. I now have this deep fascination and amusement with Bun-Bun. If you read the comic, you'll understand.

I'm going to try to ratchet up my activities at home a bit in the next week or so. I don't like to use the holidays or the short daylight hours as a crutch, but I do always feel a bit more blue during the weeks before and after Christmas.

It's easy to fall back on nostalgic remembrances from childhood, even though I know that things weren't perfect. But it's hard not to long for the boisterous Christmases that I remember from when I was young; enough first cousins for a football team, if we could've stopped driving each other crazy long enough to play together as a team. It's easy to forget that there were family tensions and problems, even then, because as children we weren't privy to them yet.

Innocence and snow, that's what I miss. Today it was warm enough not to need a jacket outside, and it's December! For Christmas this year, I'd like a fat blanket of dense, wet snow. Enough to build a snowman with; enough to leave real footprints behind when you walk on it.

Not enough to bring down power lines, but enough to put back a little of the shine that the world had when we were children. Just enough to put a bit of gloss over some of the ugliness that adult eyes see, to replace, if only for a few minutes, duty with joy and remembrance.

Then I could go outside and make chubby round snow angels with pointy ears and cat tails and look up at the sky and wonder if my grandfather could see the whimsical, sentimental adult that I've started to become over the past few years.

If he could see me now, I wonder what he'd say? I guess I'll always wonder.

The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is when I miss him the most. They're thoughts I only let out when no one is looking; it's been four years now and there's still that empty spot in my heart reserved for him. The right [or wrong] memory can still bring quiet tears and a catch in my throat.

As a child I desperately wanted his approval; he was Santa and the tooth fairy and a little bit of magic all rolled up into one gruff-voiced, stiffly walking package. As a teenager I couldn't see far enough past myself to understand that I wouldn't have him around forever.

When I was nineteen I met Jeff. At that point, my grandfather was severely ill. I came to him while he was in the hospital and I sat by his left side and I said, "I need your opinion, because I think this one's the one." He met Jeff one time. They talked about cattle and farming and inconsequential things, and when it was over he relayed his approval through my grandmother.

He died not long thereafter.

He never saw the joy on my face after Jeff proposed to me. He never saw me turn twenty, nor graduate from college, nor get married, nor move away.

Every year since then, around this time of year, my thoughts turn to him. I wonder what he'd think of me. I'm not sure he would have totally approved of my brashly independent streak, but I think he would have respected me for it.

If I could have any Christmas present in the world, it would be to go back and tell him that I loved him, and know that he heard me and understood. Because of all the things in this world that I've wanted in this life and couldn't have, that's the one I want the most.