In going through all my photos in my old bedroom at my parent’s house, I found this one:
This is my Bumpa. He and his wife Mamie ‘adopted’ my brother and I as their grandkids. They were with us for every Christmas (and every birthday, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Halloween …) pretty much every day of our lives for as long as we can remember.
Mamie would play for hours with me on Christmas morning, with whatever new toy I had received. It was Bumpa’s ever-present pocket knife that cut open the boxes, through the tape, and into the blister packages containing the necessary batteries.
I took this picture a few years ago, when the bladder cancer that eventually claimed Bumpa was just starting to rear it’s very ugly head.
Mamie passed away about 15 years ago. Bumpa, who went down fighting, died last year, a few days before Thanksgiving.
This will be our first Christmas without them.
It’s times like these that pictures are worth a thousand words. There are a thousand platitudes to offer people who are facing holidays without loved ones, but for me this picture captures everything I want to remember about Christmas with Mamie and Bumpa. The joy, the silliness, the sense of family that comes from not only those who you’re related to, but from those you choose to be a part of your family.
This year, I am choosing to be grateful for the many wonderful years I had with Mamie and Bumpa. I will remember all they have taught me and all I have learned from them. I will still miss them – a lot – but I this Christmas I am choosing gratitude.