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This will be a journal entry of sorts… just recording what’s been going on:

Gary the Gallbladder’s eviction has been scheduled for Dec 31st. How’s that for squeezing it in before the end of the year?! Bobby, in all his infinite wisdom, originally scheduled his surgery for this coming Tues, Dec 23rd. I was incredulous – why would he CHOOSE to be in recovery on Christmas Eve & Christmas? So we rescheduled it yesterday for New Years Eve… Gary’s really been acting up lately, so we’re definitely not going to miss his sorry ass. Does a gallbladder have an ass?

I assisted Sue with removing her nose piercing last night (insert shudder here). That’s some funky crap – all this time, I’ve been thinking that a nose stud was like an earring, with a back that could be removed. Yeah, not so much. It’s a little twirly hook that has to be twisted and turned while being pulled until it finally pops out. Are you cringing? Yes, that’s exactly what I did last night. She replaced her little diamond with a clear “space-holder” in honor of holiday visits with the grandparents. You can still tell that she has her nose pierced though… she really might have to just buck up and bravely own her facial modification. That should be fun to witness.

We’re heading to Virginia to visit Mama’s family this evening. Staying until Sunday. I’m not dreading it for the first time since Mama died – each visit with her family has been a little easier, a little less tense, and the last one was truly nice. So I think we’re going to have a nice time. I’m not, not, NOT looking forward to seeing my pregnant cousin. The baby’s due in 2 or 3 weeks… she and I got pregnant at the same time (mine ended in miscarriage #1, hers kept going), so every time I see her, it’s a reminder of how close we would be right now to having a new little family member. Bleh. Jennifer was struck with this horrible feeling today that pregnant cousin is going to name her baby after Mama. I’m really hoping that Jen’s just being paranoid, cuz’ that’s not gonna roll.

Bobby and I are hosting a little Christmas Eve drop-in this year… it’s going to mostly be just family, but I’m kinda excited about having something for our first Christmas in this house. I had a sudden realization the other day – when Mama died, our holiday traditions died with her. It just became too painful to keep doing the same things, pretending that things are the same, yet NOTHING’s the same. Last Christmas was just a blur, so it really doesn’t count. But this year, I realized something… the lack of our old traditions leaves room for all new traditions. We basically have a blank slate to create whatever we want for our children… and Maggie (and hopefully my babies too) will grow up with traditions that we created for them. So that’s what we’re doing this year… creating new traditions. It’s sad – I would never have chosen to nix the old ones – but it’s also kind of exciting to realize that we’re making something that our children will hopefully treasure for years to come, just like we treasure our childhood Christmases.

So the schedule is as follows:
Today we’re going to Virginia to visit Mama’s family, and coming home Sunday afternoon. Sunday night, we’re going to a Christmas church service. Monday, Jen, Tom & Maggie are heading to Charlotte to visit Tom’s mom & sister. Wed (Christmas Eve) Bobby & I are spending the day with his family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) and then hosting a family drop-in that evening for parents, siblings, close friends, etc. Christmas morning, we’re getting up and hauling all of Maggie’s gifts to Jen & Tom’s house, then after present-opening, Jennifer’s going to fix a giant Christmas morning breakfast like we used to have at our Grandma’s house. Christmas afternoon, we’re heading to Ellijay, GA to our “Christmas cabin,” where we’ll stay for 5 days, until Dec 29th. We did the cabin thing for the first time last year to escape from all the holiday madness, and loved it – so we’re doing it again.

Everything is different, but it’s still good. I feel almost guilty being excited about Christmas without Mama… but she wouldn’t have it any other way. I know.