Good morning Babbo. I hope you did something with your family up there. I hope you and Zia were giddy and drove Nonno nuts and made Nonna laugh. I hope you peeked down at us and saw that there was a hole missing this year.
As complicated of a man as you were, the holidays were your most complicated of days. You wanted it to be perfection, and if we stepped out of line with any childlike excitement, you were distraught. You had a picture in your mind and kids mess up everything, including picture-perfect holiday dreams.
What do you mean the kids want to open gifts?? We haven't cleared the table and we haven't had fruit yet?
What do you mean you want me to open this, I haven't finished and the table is a mess.
You brewed a lot on the holidays. You and she fought a bunch on them. She couldn't live up to your standards, we all couldn't.
I want you to know that we did try this year.
We tried, and we did all of the traditions.
She tried, and she made all of the right foods.
We sat down and looked over at your seat, empty and loud.
We asked her to sit there, in your spot...it was only right.
She cried then, I cried too. Cory got quiet, and the kids just ate.
We opened gifts in the quiet too.
And at one point, she started to cry so hard and apologize for it...I'm so sorry, I just miss Nonno.
I stopped breathing, I guess I missed your crazy too.
I took a walk around your house and looked at pictures of you. The ones of you holding your littles and the smile they brought you. Cheek-to-cheek kind of smiles Babbo.
The next morning, we all tried again. Zia and Zio came from Connecticut, and we all gathered for food. When Zio cried we all cried. It was weird, it was so very very weird.
That night, Cory and I had a sleepover with the kids in the living room...god you would have hated the mess!
We turned on movies and Cor and I sat and talked with some wine and drinks. We were both tired and sad. So, we cried again. Talking about you and your crazy ways. Talking about the empty space you have left us with. Talking about how we knew it was happening but we're somehow still in this state of, is he really gone? How can a man with so much force and power be gone? How did that happen? How did I spend that year walking you to your death and what do we do with the hole you have left?
It will be like this for a while. I keep reminding her that the pain will always be there, but time will make it a little better. The first one was tough, that's for sure. The first of many without you.
So, not so merry and bright this year. That's okay. It was almost fitting that since you made them complicated every year, this year would be no different. But, we did try and that does matter.
We'll shine a little brighter next year, we'll do a little more festive celebrating. We'll laugh a bit more. We'll remind ourselves of those still living and the importance of our time here. We'll just keep trying.
Merry, happy, holly, holy Babbo.
I hope you and yours shined bright.