Choosing Gratitude

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.

Thank you.

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4 responses to “Choosing Gratitude

  1. ::tear::

    Yes it is the quintessential picture. And I love it too.

  2. Beautiful. You reminded me to think of Smythie, the woman who was like your Bumpa… kind of like a grandmother. She always brought wonderful presents, beautifully wrapped – red hats, coats, bathing suits. She never had any money, and I have no idea how she afforded these luxurious items for my sister and I. We always got a matching set of whatever the gift was. If I got a little coat, Jennie got one 4 sizes smaller. I might get Red, Jennie might get Navy, but they always matched.
    I wonder if I would have remembered Smythie this early this year if not for reading your blog. I always think of her on Christmas Day. Thanks for jogging my cluttered mind.

  3. we got about 2 feet…not happy here in Baltimore!!

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