Friday, December 25, 2009

Teary Traditions (Part 1)

The new normal has been very tough to adjust to but thankfully, some milestones have passed so far where we all sat back and said, that wasn't as hard as we thought it would be. We all silently worried about what Christmas would be like without dad while knowing full well that this would and will probably always be the hardest time of the year.

Tradition is something we Morales' take very seriously. We don't mess with traditions! They unfortunately also have the potential to create the most obvious voids.

One of many at this time of year is the pajama tradition. For as long as I can remember among my dad's gift to his girls was always a pair of pajamas. We would always open them Christmas Even and then wear them to sleep that night. Some years he did a bit better than others but he always picked them out himself and he was always proud of his findings. Even last year, mom wheeled him around the mall as he thoughtfully picked out the perfect pair for Em, Ethan and Maia by shaking his head or nodding.

One of the most memorable years for pajamas was when he came home with plus size night gowns for all of the older girls... I think 3x or 4x. I think his rationale was two-fold- they were probably on the clearnace rack so of course on sale, and I think he thought they woudl be SO comfortable because they weren't tight fitting? It didn't seem to occur to him that all four of us could have fit into ONE with room to spare. We captured them on film before my mom "encouraged" him to return them and try again. Not to worry though, He did improve in both taste, size and pajama-common-sense in the years to follow!

Unforuntaely for the older three of us, this tradition ceasedwhen we got married but Emily of course had still be a beneficiary of this. Mike and I were shopping last week when all of sudden he stopped and said, "Do you think I should buy Em some PJ's?" We split up in the store as he began the hunt. I found him 20 minutes later looking quite stressed out. I asked what was wrong and he said, "I just feel so much pressure! This is a very big deal. That can't just be any pair, they have to be ones that scream Emily." I smiled at his appreciation for the seriousness of the task at hand! We did find something eventually and I left the store with our purchase and a very apprehensive Mike.

When I wrapped the PJ's I wrote on the tag, "Some traditions must keep on living..." Emily got to unwrap her very own huge one-size fits all moo-moo night gown that reads, "Move to the Moo-sic." We didn't want to her to miss out on the early years...

When she opened it we all laughed, and then of course, we all cried. It was funny and nice for a moment before we all felt the void that we knew was there. We keep taking those moments in stride. We have cried when we feel it coming on and laughed a lot as well.

Ethan has been our little rock. (We're getting him adjusted to being a sensitive guy early.) He's having a tough time following our emotional roller coasters. One minute we are all laughing and the next, he's so confused, "Hey- why's everyone cryin'?" Someone explains to him that we're sad because we miss Papa . He gives a round of hugs and then goes back to playing, and so far, we're okay and enjoy some laughs while we wait for the next wave!


Hailey said...

What a wondeful and painful post. Bitter/sweet. As i was reading this with tears streaming down, remembering the pajama's, i couldnt help but give thanks to the Lord for a awesome memory. Even though it hurts to think about it, do not stop. Your dad loved you girls more than anything in the world, this was one very special way of showing it. Thank you Lord for christmas pajamas, and for a father who loved to bring tradition to a family.
I miss him, sleeping christmas evening on the couch, the faint sound of his snores in the background, and his oh so funny jokes! I am so thankful for the last 20 years spent with him.

Natalie said...

Steph, thanks so much for writing again. You guys were heavily on my heart this Christmas! I always loved that your dad picked out his own presents for you guys, this is a rare thing that most dad's do not do! How sweet of Mike to think of Emily, I am glad you could all have a good laugh. I'm praying and trusting that now that you've gotten through this season things will just continue to get better. Keep taking things in stride! We love you guys soo much, Christmas isn't the same without you. Looking forward to next weekend! xox