What Would I Do? - Just One More Christmas With You

When we found out about my father's cancer, we knew he wouldn't make it to Christmas. The thought didn't really register with me. Here we are in December, and I rarely go a full 24 hours without breaking down. It seems like every tear I held back for everyone else has come flooding back to me. Today, I want to answer a question that wasn't posed to me. Someone asked my mother a version of this question, and it really got me to thinking about it.

What would you do if you had one more Christmas with your dad, knowing it was his last Christmas?

Using the assumption he could do these things and wouldn't be sick or in pain, I would want to have a Christmas like I remember from being a child and more added to it. I would love to drive around for hours several nights a week to find the best Christmas lights around. It is something we used to do with as a family and with another family as well. I remember carrying a doll and just snuggling up under a blanket while staring out the window in wonder. 

He was never one for decorating the tree with us, but I would make him help more this year. We would fuss over who would put up what ornaments. Hopefully none would end up broken, but I would love to just know which ones were his favorites. We could go all out with lights and as many ornaments as we could fit. We have never been one for themed or color coordinating trees, so this would probably resemble the worst tacky Christmas vomit you had ever seen.

The cooking would be out of this world. I wouldn't stop at making candy. I would bake cookies until the oven refused to turn on again. I would make every recipe I could get my hands on and let him eat as much of them as he wanted (without fussing about his blood sugar). We would cook a huge ham with all of his favorite trimmings. We would have enough to feed an army for weeks. Even if it meant forty pounds of ribs just like he liked them on the fourth of July.

We would have a house full of people again. I miss the years of family and friends coming over and us having a huge Christmas. With everyone knowing it would be his last, I hope they would come and make it special for him. He would get to spend a Christmas with my children. They would get a chance to really know him, maybe we could even talk him into his Santa suit again.

We wouldn't spend hours in front of the TV watching whatever he wanted like we usually did. I would want to be able to watch all the Christmas movies he loved, even the black and white ones. We would find new favorites and sing along with all of the music while being all cozy by the fire.

Most of all, I wouldn't let it go by as just another holiday like we have done for several years now. It wouldn't matter what was under the tree, it never mattered before. It would be about spending one last Christmas as a family together. It would be about loving each other and making memories to last a lifetime. The reality is, I spent too many years having a dull Christmas without all the things I remember making up a wonderful Christmas. 

This year, I encourage all of you to spend the time with your family, even if it means long hours in travel or mending bridges to get there. As a daddy's girl, I never imagined a Christmas without him; however, I am faced with my first Christmas without him. Spend every day you can with those you love and make the best memories that you can, you never know when you won't get the chance to make any more.