I'm excited for Christmas this year. That is significant in the fact that (usually) I don't enjoy Christmas. I like Christmas music, and that is further proof that I'm a walking contradiction... but that's beside the point. I've dreaded the past few Christmases - mostly due to our feeble attempts to make it a magical holiday for our kids and my memories of Christmas of childhood past and financial stresses coupled with the chaos that comes with the ever-changing headcount that only foster parents can appreciate. For the past few years, Christmas has been a date of impending doom.
This year is different. My excitement is genuine. This is a good season. Our daughter's adoption was finalized this past year, so this is her fist Christmas (officially) as a Casey. Christian is old enough to get presents that Daddy wants to play. And we, as a family, are making progress rather than just hanging on.
I also get to spend the holiday with some fantastic people. Bekah's older sister is coming up from Moscow with her husband. They are some of my favorite people in the world. He's a musician and she's a writer, so I get them. And they get me. And I don't have to pretend to like football to hold a conversation with them. Our friend David will be here on Christmas Eve for dinner and family game night. The last time he came to hang out he laughed like a monkey and teased Bekah about the South Dakota accent she's never been able to shake in the six years since we lived in Sioux Falls. Of course my wife will be there. This is our eighth Christmas together. (and I must point out that this is the most well executed Christmas we've ever planned... except possibly the year we drove all day from Sioux Falls to Cheyenne to surprise my parents)
But as much as I look at this Christmas with the eagerness of an anxious five year old, it's not complete. Which brings us to the next song in this serries.
Song: 2000 Miles
Artist: The Pretenders
Album: Learning to Crawl
This song is like a disconsolate seraph. So much beauty and so much sadness. Chrissie Hynde's voice is the definition of melon-collie and the arrangement is hypnotizing. While the band insists it is not a Christmas song, it is one of the essentials that I have to listen to at least once during the holidays. I feel like Christmas isn't Christmas if I don't hear this song.
It's about loss and missing people. And when I listen to it, I am reminded of those people I miss. My parents, brother his family, and mom's side of the family in and around Cheyenne; my dad's side of the family in Oklahoma City, the guys from the Tommymonsters in Boise (and the extended group of friends we hung out with down there), my little sister in Texas, the group I used to play poker with in Seattle.
I'd love to spend one more Christmas with my dad's parents, or crash in a recording studio with Steve and Tommy again, or see Sarah and Steve and their two boys, or, or, or... In my dream world, I'd be able to spend Christmas with Bekah's side of the family and mine, and my B-Town friends. That ideal Christmas doesn't exist, so I'll take what I can get. Because in reality, what I have is great.