As we were decorating our tree yesterday, Peanut came across one of my favorite ornaments, a picture of him with his two uncles. Each year, I like to use the current Christmas pictures to decorate the tree. Eventually, I stopped replacing the pictures in the frames and just bought mini frame ornaments each year.
This is a bittersweet Christmas for us, we are celebrating and trying to remember the good memories of my brother but there is an underlying nagging feeling that something is different and always will be. I knew this Christmas was going to be a hard one, but every time I turn around there is a moment that makes it that much harder.
When we were finished with the tree, Peanut started thinking again, I could see those wheels turning and he asks if there is a Christmas in Heaven? Peanut ask a ton of questions about Heaven, you can read some of those posts here and here. As a parent, I knew I would have questions to face that I wasn't ready for or even knew the answers too, but these ones about Heaven tug on my heart strings and in addition to answering them, but I have to deal with my own emotions that I try to hide and not deal with.
Our family actually has two Uncle Russells, my sister's boyfriend is Uncle Russell as well. When Peanut was younger, he called them both Row Row. We have been slowly waiting to see what Pumpkin would call them. Yesterday, after the tree was finished and I was working on dinner, I found my kiddos looking at past Christmas pictures and Peanut was pointing out all of the people for Pumpkin. Hiding behind the wall, I sat there and listened to him name each person and tell her something about them. This is your SaSa (my sister), Pumpkin knows and can SaSa all too well, so she was singing SaSa and pointing to her in the pictures. Then he pointed to Uncle Russell and said this is Uncle Russell, you know him, you just saw him, I used to call him Row Row. You can call him that too. Then he points to my brother and says, this is Uncle Russell, he is in heaven, but you can call him Row Row too. Talk about confusing for an almost two year old, scratch that anyone! When Peanut explained to her about Heaven, he pointed to the sky. Yes, he actually opened the front door and pointed.
About ten minutes later, I heard Pumpkin still in the living room looking at pictures and pointing out all of the people in the pictures. SaSa (and she repeats it three more times), Row Row and she points to my sister's boyfriend, finally, I the door open (and of course go running) only to find her pointing the sky and then the pictures, Row Row.
I love that even though he is no longer with us, we are still able to make wonderful memories that involve my brother.