Christmas. Oh Christmas. It’s hard to describe my feelings about Christmas. I love the spirit of the season. I love finding that special gift for every person on my list. I love wrapping paper. I love getting and sending cards. I love to belt out Christmas carols which are on constantly from Thanksgiving through the New Year. I love my gaudy bubble lights. I love seeing lights outside of peoples homes on my drive home, it almost makes me glad it’s dark before 5PM. I love my sister in law Denise’s cut out cookies. However, despite all of the lovely things that I simply adore about Christmas, it’s never an easy day for me since my Mom died on Christmas when I was 13. It’s weird to look forward to the anniversary of your Mom’s death. Luckily my family always celebrated the holiday on Christmas Eve but still, the holiday just isn’t the same since Christmas Eve was the last time I saw my Mom alive. I am still glad to this day that before I went to bed I made sure to hug her, kiss her and tell her how much I loved her. I knew she wasn’t doing well but I had no idea just how bad. To top off the bad holiday juju I have, my Grandmother died the day AFTER Christmas in 2004 so it was another notch in the “bad holiday” list – my Aunt had the funeral & calling hours on New Years Eve so that effectively wiped out the entire week of holidays for me. My father and I shared a streak of dark humor in us so when he had the doctor break it to me that my Dad’s cancer was not curable and he would most likely die within a few months, my first comment was that he was not allowed to die on a holiday. He laughed and laughed and I still think that my doctor thinks I’m crazy.
This past Christmas sadly was another bittersweet one for us. We got the news the week prior that my sister in law Denise’s cancer had spread throughout her body and there would be no cure, only prolonging the inevitable through chemo and radiation. While everyone had tried to maintain a smile and some cheer, there was a palpable cloud of sadness that everyone felt. Knowing that this would very possibly be the last Christmas that we would be able to spend with the entire family, alive and healthy, I made sure to be a bit heavier on the shutter than normal. I also made everyone take family portraits – each family unit and one of the grandkids and grandma. I got fussed at a bit but I know these images will be priceless to everyone and future generations. Many of the family units hadn’t had a semi-formal portrait taken in years – many since our wedding or prior. I’m glad that I did because none of us expected Denise’s condition to deteriorate so rapidly.
You never know when one minute will change your life. Make sure to take advantage of every moment with those you love and make sure to tell them you love them, even if you think they already know.
There is never a dull moment at the dinner table when my in laws are eating.
I have an image of my brother in law Eric asleep in almost this exact position (sans hat) at every family gathering.
FINALLY I have an image with every single grandchild and my mother in law in one image. Of course it’s not the best but at least you can see everyones faces. From here Gabby crowd surfed and kicked a few people in the head on her way to the floor. LOL.
It’s another Balazowich grouping and Chris and Dale still can’t smile and my mother in law isn’t looking at my camera (par for the course, the one above is the ONLY one she is looking at me in the entire series with her in it).
My sister in law Cathy got a Christmas kiss from Dale’s dog Riley.
Chris can always be counted on for the laughs. Here he took a pair of socks I got from his Mom and made them into a beard. Life in our home is never dull!
Gabby has a ‘thing’ for glasses and she liked Kelly’s a lot.
- Walt Disney World Wedding with Kristen and Michael - May 6, 2021
- The Tanglewood Club wedding with Allyssa and Christopher - May 3, 2021
- Sapphire Creek Winery Wedding with Jessica and Philipp - April 22, 2021