Sunday marked two and a half years without Ian.
The first year, I decided to mark the date with a visit to a iconic local Christmas light display - do something nice with John on the day that we'd done with Ian.
It's something we've done each Christmas since.
Well, attempted to.
This year's attempt was not as disastrous as last year, but not great either.
A weekend evening is a bit of a mad-house there, and I have to accept that John gets over-stimulated and wound up by crowds and noise. Sunday wouldn't be as bad as a Friday or Saturday, but summer school holidays have started, so there would likely be a bigger crowd than earlier weekends. So I opted to not do it on the day to hopefully manage his response a bit better.
And I'm kind of glad we cancelled the plans. John seemed to know it was a significant time, or at least the universe conspired against me.
On the Saturday I'd taken John to a major sporting event, at which he lasted all of 15 minutes before I dragged him out kicking and screaming. He's not a "sit still" kid, plus it was at least 93F and on the busy and noisy side at the ground.
It didn't help I then got wails of "I want my Daddy" and "I miss my Daddy" as we were leaving. All I can do is tell him 'I miss your daddy, too'.
Then on Sunday he was ratty-as at Church. He went running up the front (usual - he high 5's the Minister) and then unusually up onto the pulpit, smiling down cutely at everyone. Until the pipe organ behind him started and he scurried off like a rabbit. He didn't want to be left in the children's programs this week - it was the first time they had to come and get me as he was too upset. Then a while later, he tripped over and fell head first into the metal upright for a hand rail. The result was a nice old goose-egg, but no concussion thankfully.
I gave up on the day about then and headed to my parents for a coffee. Meanwhile John was good as gold and "helped" Papa work on his off-road vehicle.
So to at least have a crack at maintaining the tradition, my sister and I took our kids Monday evening.
Yeah, I forgot he's terrified of the volcano with Thor hammering inside that's part of the display.
So the whole attempt was a bust. At least John wasn't the only kid wigging out at it. I have vague recollections of not liking the thing myself as a kid, so I shouldn't be surprised.
I guess I'll have to wait a while before I can really try making it an enjoyable Christmas tradition for us.