Party preparations are complete. Candles are lit. Food is ready. Holiday music is soft and low.

Got a call from both my sons. What more could I ask? Despite all my blessings, I soon was sitting here with the cat on my lap and the dogs resting nearby crying and missing Lewis so much. It is very hard when these magical times come and he is not with me.

My friends will be arriving soon. We will have joy and our mutual love will be kindled once again.

My very close friend Lynne is coming. Jim is also on his way around the beltway and should be here in about two hours. Brendan is coming by and may bring the girls and that would make it so very special this evening. Jeremy and Bryan have arrived safely to Bryan’s home in Syracuse.  Lora and Tom are at the store getting some last minute supplies.  The black-eyed pea soup is tasty.

On this special evening, I miss my family:  my mom and Lewis and all those I grew up with. All my aunts and uncles are gone now. My generation are very separated by time and space and there are few of us left.

Today I was cleaning out the closet in my mother’s room so I could rearrange things. I Found all the old family pictures and on the bottom was a card I sent my mom and dad my first Christmas away from home and another for Mother’s Day that year.  She kept them all those years.

Very touching to find.  Lots of tears.  All the pictures of family were there, my grandparents, my cousins, my aunts and uncles. Baby pictures, friends gathered, old pictures, laughter and times of grief.

We cannot go backwards in time, but we vividly remember all the wonderful people and the attachments that loved and held us along the way.  I was a very fortunate young girl to have had a loving family and strong community of friends, a faith family around us, and good schools.

Happy New Year 2011!