Getting Ahead of the Game… A Different Kind of Year…

It goes without saying, my wife and I are not traditional people. Our values are common, if not distorted in design by our own personal conceptions of what values should be. We live and work in a non-traditional way, staying at home, fawning over and discussing our large family/pack of dogs, and having long conversations about how our pasts have formed (or deformed) how we feel and act and react. Tara seeks solace in watching the fish in our large aquarium. She is shamelessly kind and cares a great deal about not hurting anyone’s feelings… avoiding conflict and confrontations is an art form she has mastered. However, she can be as fearless as a one-hundred-year-old snapping turtle striking at a bulldozer.

And for some reason, probably something I will never understand, she fell in love with me at the age of 13. Twenty-some years later, she tracked me down, drove through several states, picked me up from a horrid and dangerous section of Cleveland, and claimed me.

The next day, she filed for divorce from her then-cheating husband. We barely have left one another’s side since. Nor do we ever plan on being with anyone else. It’s just not an option. And we are of an age where we know who we are and what we want – the developmental stages of our life, along with our difficulties and peccadillos, were cemented long before that dreary-grey-yet-miraculous morning last November when she got me.

Now, for a woman that is non-traditional in many facets of her life, this year she wants a TRADITIONAL Christmas!

Already she has purchased an 8 foot feet, a thousands twinkle lights and ornaments, hundreds of presents, and, from the light in her eyes, I can tell she is very, very excited about all this.

So am I, for that matter.

We had a wonderful holiday last year. Holidays, to be exact. Thanksgiving was a little awkward; I was just then being introduced to Tara’s world and the people that inhabit it.

Christmas, on the other hand, was very special. It was my first REAL Christmas in years. We had a small tree, gifts – the works. We decorated the tree with classic Christmas cartoon playing in the background.

This year, something is different. We have our new home, The Locke Nest Cabin, and, I imagine, there is no reason not to really deck these darn halls with joyus, psychedelic decorations, litter the floor beneath the tree – beyond the tree – with gifts… cook a feast for visitors during the mid-afternoon/evening hours, and make calls to out-of-town family members, asking them how their holiday is going.

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, yet Tara has all of the shopping done. And she is determined to have the tree up the Wednesday after Turkey Day! Madness, I tell you, sheer and utter, blissful madness.

Who am I to put a damper on such a wonderful, classic celebration?

There is also the generous, caring side of the season uncalled for, which I know we will perform. The dropping of bills and coins into the buckets of bell-ringing Santas and volunteers outside of stores and malls and Main Streets. Going to hospitals and/or churches to donate our time and care and efforts to the community… to pray for forgiveness and thankfulness during the final weeks of the year…

Halloween may be my favorite holiday, but I will not deny that otherworldly, warm and distant satisfaction I feel during December. A sensation that comes only once a year.

This second Christmas with my girl is going to be uber special.

It’s the first year we get to celebrate it in our – and I do mean OUR – home. The dogs and puppy and fishes, I bet, will be wandering around the place, wondering, what the hell is going on?

I imagine Winnie, Winnie, Winnie, Winnie, our still-true puppy will chew on wrapped gifts, steal tree decorations, or rip the stocking off the wall, thinking they are her special toys.

I can’t wait for the chaos. Also, I can’t wait for that long sleep on Christmas night, knowing things are the way they are supposed to be.

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