**Originally posted 12/25/2011**
I’ve found that often in life the pivotal memories, as well as what will become your most cherished photos–the ones that you will go back and live over and that will bring a smile to your lips–are ones that you don’t realize are so immensely important at the time.
December 25, 2008
I knew it was an important Christmas, a Christmas that would stand out in my memory for always. You see, it was the very first Christmas of my first baby, Amber. Of course the magic of Christmas for the first time of the first child is a memory that parents always treasure. You buy special jamies, a special ornament, and take thousands of pictures of the day-capturing every smile and giggle.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that it was the very last Christmas I was going to spend with my beloved Grandpa.
Growing up Christmas revolved around my Grandparents. Christmas Eve with them was filled with songs, The Christmas Story from the Bible, food, and presents. The next afternoon we piled in the car for a huge Christmas feast and loud crazy fun with all of the extended family again at my Grandparents house. Every year for the 19 years before I got married was filled with these precious traditions. Once I got married and moved far away one of the things I missed the very most was no longer getting to be a part of it all. We were able to spend Amber’s first Christmas back home and I was thrilled that her first Christmas would be spent doing the same beloved traditions I’d grown up with, but thought that it would be the first of many times she’d be able to.
I just assumed that there would be plenty more Christmases to keep enjoying it all.
2008 was the last Christmas I got to spend with my family, and I only got to visit my grandparents a few times since then.
My Grandpa went to be with his Savior and Lord this past April after battling a brief but intense fight with cancer, he never got to meet my little boy who was born in July 2010.
This will be the first Christmas I spend knowing that he is not at home in Wyoming, carrying on those traditions with the rest of my family.
Shortly after he died I came across a picture from that Christmas day, one where he was playing with Amber while I was holding her and trying to “take her ear off” It so typifies him and the fun loving funny guy that he was. Looking back it is a beautiful picture of the circle of life, her first Christmas with me was his last. And so this year I will cherish my children’s smiles and magic, but there are sure to be some tears mixed in with the smiles.