Christmas has come and gone.

I took a break from blogging to get through the holiday, knowing it would be different without my dad. It was our first Christmas with him gone, and I had dreaded it for some time.

Instead of camping out at his home, we grabbed air mattresses, packed our pajamas and slippers, and headed to my older sister’s place. There, we tried to remember what Christmas was all about, and did our best to lean on each other.

It wasn’t bad, just different.

My father was the inspiration for many of our family traditions, so his absence was obvious. Kinda like a sock that is missing its match in the dryer, a beach without a seashell, or a cookie jar with no lid…Dad belonged.

I missed getting that call this year asking me for ideas for Mom, then asking me to wrap it later. I missed not seeing Dad in his robe, while putting batteries in the grandkids’ toys, and seeing him enjoy them as much as they did. I missed not teasing Dad about how he mumbled the questions during a round of Trivial Pursuit where the girls took on the guys.

So, it warmed my heart when I opened my gift from Mom…

An ornament with Dad’s picture. And it’s just how I would want to remember him, handsome, smiling and looking content.

We toasted to Dad by sipping his favorite drink…Coca-Colas in the miniature glass bottles. Without a doubt, my favorite gift this year was the ornament from Mom, and next year I will have a new tradition…

The ‘brightest star in the sky’ will be hanging on my tree.