Well we know that anything from Starbucks can definitely take the chill factor off your innards, and today..since it’s Christmas Day, I purchased an egg nog latte…quite delicious, and since I was feeling a tiny bit peckish, decided on some “creme brûlée almonds,” because ..hello..the name had me salivating on the counter… I’m sitting here in this coffee place because it offers free wifi…and I need to write some thoughts that are rolling over my heart today. Now don’t get excited about the red Starbucks cup, I prayed over it, and now there are heavenly hosts flying around it protectively, which can only be seen my my imaginary third eye…..ha…perhaps I’ll “sharpie” a drawing of the baby Jesus on it, since it’s his day after all.
Quite a few years back we hosted a “Brandon Family Christmas” at our home in Colorado. Many cousins, aunts and uncles, and large gift boxes arrived. It was great…I was so excited to have so many in our home. Our house was overflowing with bodies, just the way I like it, there were snacks of multiple varieties, and a proliferation of drinks to be had just for the asking. I even had up two real Christmas trees in my house…yes..two..I can scarcely believe it myself. We played games, talked late into the night and just generally had a most jovial time. After Christmas we booked a few condos up at Winter Park Resort where we planned to ski for a few days all together, in one big crazy family pile up…we had a blast together. In remembering this time up here, of course my thoughts turn to Bianca, and her riding on the “sits ski” up here with the National Sports Center for the Disabled. Every time I see a disabled skier on the mountain my heart just erupts in my chest. I’ve seen amputee, double amputee, blind, and multiple disabled skiers in this place. They just inspire me clean out of my ski pants. Many of them are so skilled it causes me to simply stop and stare, with wonder, respect and awe for their dynamic persistence to conquer, and not let any disability define them…Way to go!!
We took Bianca on her first ski ride years back, and for many subsequent years would try to get her up here at least once a year. The time we stayed here with family, I remember trying to bustle, and squish, and cram her into her ski suit. She was so MAD at me. By the time I was done, I was sweating profusely, and she was blowing a snot bubble… WHEW…..such a lot of effort, especially when there was no way to explain to her that we were actually doing this to make her happy…really…..we were. If you are not familiar, the sits ski is a chair like device made from metal, and it balances on two alpine skis. The rider gets their arms and legs strapped in securely, a helmet and goggles placed carefully on their heads, and off they go, usually with one instructor, and one volunteer. The instructor traverses down the hill holding onto two reigns at the back of the chair, and moves her down the hill using these reigns. The volunteer skier in front tries to keep the skier engaged in this wondrous activity……Bianca loved this….I was never sure if she was going to be warm enough, so I usually put her into a sleeping bag as well, complete with several chemical heat warmers to try and keep her from turning into a shivery little purple Popsicle….not an easy task I assure you. She looked like a little “mummy,” and could scarcely move….but….she enjoyed the crazy adventure of it all . Her little face was pinkish red with cold, her goggles fogged up, juicy boogers flowing from her petite nose, and below that….yes..the grin a mile wide that made it all worth while.
We would do anything to get that smile…..absolutely anything. No risk was too great, and in this case….no mountain was too high…..we were going all in with our little “thrill seeker.” She does have older brothers who were her examples after all, so the wilder the ride, the bigger the grin……I lookout this cafe window into the snowy earth beyond, and yearn for that smile, dream I can still see it, her laughing blue eyes. Of course I miss her….we all do…for now we are four, and four is an even number, where before we were used to being irregular, we were five, and we liked it that way. We are not sure how to do four?
The melodious soundtrack of “The Nutcracker” is playing in the background here, and the “sugarplum fairies” are dancing. I picture Bianca waltzing away upon the clouds, never missing a step. What a vision that gives me…..a little precious ballerina pirouetting, and leaping with glorious abandon…I like that….this gives me comfort, and so I shall go with it.
My boys are out in the snowy wilderness skiing and snowboarding, and I am sure they are tearing up the hill, and will come back in frozen, but invigorated. It was pretty cold out there today, and the sun was hiding lazily behind some grey clouds. The mountain looked well covered so I’m sure conditions were sure to please. I’m so thankful they have this opportunity today to be here doing what they love together. I know Bianca is ever on their hearts and minds, and they would have it no other way. This is a new Christmas for us…..it’s different……We will begin new traditions to honor our girl, and we will pledge to remember her always, and in our special and unique way.
The snow has begun to fall feathery soft, and it brings its white quiet upon us. It tickles my nose, and lights on my eyelashes ever so soft like a lovers’ kiss. The earth is frozen, and my heart often feels the same. I am cold..I am distant..I want for what is no more…memories are all that are left, and so with only with this choice, I will remember, and I will treasure in my heart what we had, what we lost. She was our little beacon of hope, she was our steering wheel, we risked more, and loved harder because of her. Perhaps some day my heart will thaw, it will warm, I don’t know, but it’s Christmas, and I wish she was here with me, with us.
We are family, we are a broken unit, there are many like us. Looking ahead towards another new year seems daunting, unsure. Questions about the future are ever on my mind. I look to the only one who holds my future in his hands. He guides my steps, He knows the way that I will take, He is never surprised. I can rest on his promises, and his care, I will not be undone…one day at a time….one day at a time.