Second Advent yesterday. It goes so fast. I do not want this season to end. I love the holidays. The snowy weather makes it even lovelier. Even though this is going to be the first holiday without father, the decorations and the atmosphere make me happy.
I can’t stop thinking Christmas as a small child. Before my parents got divorced. When we were a family ( for the first 5 years of my life). I remember two Christmases before everything went straight to hell. One when I was 4 and one when I was 5.On Christmas day father would take me into my bedroom in the dark and we’d count to ten really slow. He said Santa will not come if we don’t do this and he will be too shy to come in if we waited outside. After a conversation about where on earth will he come from – concluding he would choose either the keyhole from the front door or the window from the living room. I’d be convinced to go and count in the dark. Then we’d go out and all the presents would be magically right there under the tree. And that is just about all the Christmases I had as a child.
Then it all disappeared and I really didn’t give a crap about the holidays. I didn’t really have a family and Greece is not a place to spend Christmas. Yes, I was one of those miserable little people who say “I hate Christmas. I hate the Holidays“ And I would make a sour face every time I’d see anything Christmassy.
So after I moved here I started celebrating the winter festivals again.
You see Swedes are very good with Christmas. They make it all so beautiful. And they play games and they have all those silly traditions I LOVE. Like writing lil poems on the presents making you guess what the present is before you open it. After the first year living here I started getting this feeling again. The same feeling I had during the holidays when I was a child. And we started celebrating all together, my Swedish and my dysfunctional weird Greek family, all together. Father, who was a very difficult man, always nagged, of course, that the food wasn’t good and the opening present time took too long, and couldn’t understand why by the end of the night the Swedes wanted to solve their Christmas crossword puzzle. But he always had a huge genuine happy smile and he enjoyed being with us more than anything. The last 8 Christmases where happy for all of us!
Father’s death is going to make the food taste more sour, the drinks taste more bitter, the presents less important … but we will still be happy that he had some good years towards the end of his life, and that those last Christmases he didn’t spend alone. And no matter what, when I eat the sill (pickled herring), I will think of father and the same conversation we had every year: “What is this?” He would ask “You don’t like this dad, eat something else” I would say sounding bored and a little irritated. “Give me some.” “But daaaad, you do not like iiiiit! EVERY year we have the same discussion. You try it you hate it, end of story. Why go through it again!?” Nope, as if talking to my ass, he would grab a piece, eat it, make a face and say “yuk”. Oh he made me red and purple in the face and I think a little vein popped on my forehead every time. But then I’d laugh as my mother would say “ Mr. Alzheimer …what did you expect”. And he wouldn’t hear because father was also a little proud in the ears if you know what I mean. And then he would want to try the other sill, (we’ve got a big variety of pickled herring recipes on the Swedish Christmas table) so then I would laugh and give up reasoning with him.
I am going to miss this infuriating man so much.
So much …
I’m off to my book for a while … Mr. Neil is keeping me company this morning... (again)