December 25, 2010

Christmas Without Grandpa

Grandpa has always been a huge part of Christmas for me.
Carmack family tradition has always been the same.
I have spent all 29 Christmases of my life at Grandma and Grandpa's house.
On my 30th Christmas, Grandpa is not there....and neither am I.

My heart feels sad, but also thankful.....
~Thankful that I never missed a Christmas with Grandpa...
~Thankful to Nick for understanding how important it was for me to be there for Grandpa's last    
   Christmases (and the Kinnier family for being willing to share Nick)....
~Thankful to my family for being so fun and making Christmas my favorite day of the year....
~Thankful that I married into a family that I can also enjoy spending Christmases with...
~And mostly, thankful to my Grandma and Grandpa for teaching us what it means to be a part of a 
   family.....because there really is nothing better.
And so, my first Christmas without Grandpa will also be my first Christmas without the rest of the Carmacks.  I like to think that it is not just me that is missing them, but that maybe they are missing me too.  Though, I do think there is someone whose presence will be missed much more than my own.
One of my favorite memories of Grandpa was on Christmas 2 years ago.  Grandpa had been diagnosed with diabetes and was not allowed to eat sweets, and everyone worked really hard to make sure he didn't.    Of course there are tons of cookies and treats out all day on Christmas.....not fair for a man who loves sweets.  I happened to be walking into the living room just in time to see him take a quick glance around the room to make sure no one was looking, then reach down to grab a cookie and pop it into his mouth.  This was followed by another quick glance around the room to make sure no one saw (not an easy feat when there are about 50 people in the house).  Only this time, his glance ended on me looking right at him.  His eyes got wide when he saw me, and I whispered to him, "You're not allowed to eat that, are you?"  He said nothing in response, but got a huge grin on his face and immediately put his finger to his lips to quiet me, then pulled me into a tight, tight hug.  When he pulled away, he looked at me again with this twinkle in his eye.  He didn't have to say a word for me to know that this was our little secret.
Man, I miss him.