The mornings have been foggy all week. We wake sluggishly and pad downstairs. Coffee is mandatory. I’ve deemed it our couch cafe–we take one couch, Fisher curls up and takes the other.
I bought this Santa mug at Target two years ago. I tend to buy things in pairs, but in this case hadn’t, regretted it and immediately went back to the store to find another. And. COULDN’T.
I told Stephen about it one night. What started out as a passing comment turned into an ode to the Santa mug and the quest finding a second one had become. They were sold out online! The store was out! What would I do without matching mugs?! Should I take this one back and look elsewhere for a matching set?! But then what if that left me without ANY Santa mugs and why was I suddenly so crazy about mugs?!
A few days later my sister and I rushed up to Seattle to be with our dad. We had a final weekend together before he passed away. We talked cars and eggnog by day and by night we had the conversations only sisters can have as we navigated I-405, my dad’s townhouse and saying goodbye.
It was painful, but in that beautiful way endings can be. Moments were strung together by an awareness time was slipping and the only thing we could do was let go and try to savor each moment. The moments were pure and connected. Rich with sadness, gratitude, forgiveness, love and support. Until finally the moments with him were gone.
On our last night in Seattle, just days until Christmas, Amy and I were walking through Target so we could pick up some last minute gifts before I headed back to Portland and she headed back to California. I turned a corner, looked up and saw something that made me tear up and laugh at the same time.
It was one Santa mug. The last mug left.
Last year as I packed up my house, two Santa mugs were wrapped in about 50 sheets of bubble wrap for the move from Oregon to Georgia. I pulled them out last Christmas when my new house had no furniture and I was still using a Garmin to find the grocery store. The mugs came out again this year and will be used every morning until January.
My dad still is around. The alarm on his ever present Timex which used to go off every hour stopped and now only beeps in perfect, quiet moments where I’m talking about him or missing him. I walked out of the airport to Stephen’s new car which had a randomly issued license place with RAY as the first three letters, my dad’s name. But my favorite is when he shows up in my dreams. We just talk. About nothing. And everything. The way that we did. The way that we still do.