Our Story Part 20
Late in October of 2006, Craig and I made the decision to do something different for Christmas. I had been so looking forward to Christmas when I was pregnant. Christmas of 2005, I went a little nuts buying things on clearance related to Christmas and a baby. We didn't know the gender at that time, so I bought girl Christmas things and boy Christmas things. A little baby Santa suit. (Hey, everything was 75% off....).
I knew damn well all of that stuff was still sitting on a shelf in his bedroom while his ashes were on a shelf in my living room.
A self professed Christmas freak, I needed to skip it. I couldn't handle the thought of sitting with our families and forcing a smile. We have a lot of kids on each side and...well, damn it. It was suppose to be our turn. Our Christmas to have a child. The previous Christmas my parents had given us a "parents to be ornament". My mother in law had given me a book about being a first time mom and an Oh Baby tshirt. My parents gave us a video camera....
There was no way I was going to be able to fake my way through Christmas. Craig and I decided to take a trip, but we needed to make it inexpensive. It had to be short, he had just started a new job after all....so, that was that. Vegas was booked.
It did not go over well with our families. Overall, they were understanding, but for their own reasons they wanted us there. When, for obvious reasons that was the last place we wanted to be.
We needed Christmas to be different. In booking the trip to Vegas and looking at shows to attend, I began to look forward to Christmas. To get away with my husband. It wasn't going to me watching all of my nieces and nephews rip open their presents, it was going to be us eating, playing the slots, and relaxing.
It was exactly what we needed. I refused to set foot into a mall or Target or anywhere Christmas "threw up" for the entire month of December. I did shop for our nieces and nephews, but thanks to the Internet, it was easy. We donated money instead of buying gifts for the adults and asked people to do the same, but no one did. I didn't put up my Christmas decorations. I did end up putting up a small, artificial tree. Mainly because my mom had given us a Curtis ornament at the Angel of Hope ceremony a few weeks prior, and I wanted to hang it up. It became known as our memory tree, all ornaments for Curtis. We hung up that "Parents to be" ornament.
We left early on Christmas eve, and arrived in Vegas early in the day. Most of the trip is a blur of slot machines, funny comedy shows, and eating out. Christmas day I woke up and....it didn't feel like Christmas. Which is exactly what I wanted. Christmas night we went to a showing of Mamma Mia. Everything felt fine. It felt good. A friend who lives in California drove up to meet up with us.
The day before we left, sitting in a Chinese restaurant, Craig and I looked at each other and both of our eyes filled with tears.
"I cannot believe this. How can this be?"
"I don't know. I miss him so much."
We talked, and we talked, and we talked. We talked about our little boy and the weird turn our lives had taken. We talked until our tears stopped and we started joking about the weirdos crying, in Vegas, in front of our sweet 'n sour chicken.
While Vegas did not erase our grief, I have to say, it did make Christmas a heck of a lot easier. I still think our families have no clue how much we needed that trip. The next Christmas....well, Claudia was with us by then and life became much different. Always tears, always someone missing.... but Christmas 2006 will forever be our Christmas. The year we did what we needed to do to get through another day.