holidays.

i dislike them.

i always have

(and i'm pretty sure i've mentioned that here before).

but i do these

things for maddy,

mostly because her mom

loved them,

and partially because i

can remember what it

was like to be

a kid before

high school brought

on my cynicism

and jaded me

beyond repair.

anyway, on saturday

brooke and i

took maddy to

see santa claus.

after a short

wait in line,

 

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waiting to see santa.

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flying...

she was able to

sit on the old

man's lap

and tell him

what she wanted

for christmas.

on the walk

from the car

(trying to prep her for her visit)

i asked her

what she wanted

santa to bring her...

she didn't have

an answer, so

i told her to

tell santa that

she wanted grapes

and loud musical instruments

and books.

(i figured that santa would enjoy hearing something other than usual barbie and whatever other toys children beg of him).

when the moment arrived

and he asked her

what she wanted,

she told him that

she wanted "his presents"

(generic).

12_9_10_3.jpg

maddy and santa.

oh well.

i didn't really

care what she

said, i was just

happy things didn't

end up like they

did last year.

after we left

santa's lair,

12_9_10_11.jpg

 outside of santa's house.

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outside of santa's house.

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with a giant tree, a car, brookie and some strangers.

we ran into

this frightening character:

12_9_10_5.jpg

so happy.

and instead of running

away from the

snow person as she

did last year.,

she decided to

embrace him

12_9_10_4.jpg

hugs.

my little girl

is growing up

so fast.

after a short

nap, we continued on

with the pre-holiday events

by heading to

target to buy some

ornaments and lights,

then out into the

parking lot to

pick out a tree.

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looking for a tree.

12_9_10_7.jpg

fake snow.

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running.

12_9_10_9.jpg

we found our tree...

as we stood

in the parking lot,

watching the man

tie the tree to

our car,

i told maddy...

"i bought a christmas tree at this same place when you were still in your mommy's tummy."

she smiled

then looked at me

with a quizzical look...

"where is my mommy?"

shit.

i've been worried

about this very moment

since the day that

liz

died.

how in the fuck am

i supposed to

explain this to her?

(this is an exasperated exclamation (read, a rhetorical question)).

she's a little

over two and a half

years old.

i should not have

to explain this

to a child

of her age.

i could feel the

tears coming to

my eyes and

i was instantly

sick to my stomach,

and had to swallow

hard to keep

from puking.

...

the crazy thing is,

we talk about her

mom all of the time.

i talk about the

photos that are on

the walls,

and the things in

the house

that her mom used

to use, and

i tell her about

the places we visit

that i once visited with

her mom and

so much more,

but not once

as she asked

that question.

...

i said the only

thing i could.

"maddy, your mommy died."

sad.

cold.

awful.

the truth.

"but where is she?"

i couldn't do

it anymore.

i was bawling.

"she loved you very, very much."

that's all i could say.

then i did

the only thing

i could do.

i pointed to

the christmas tree

on top of our car.

"are you excited to decorate the tree?"

"yes, daddy. i'm excited."

...

while i composed

myself by hacking

branches from

the bottom of the tree

(you know, to make room for those presents from santa)

maddy and her brookie

worked on some

holiday treats.

12_9_10_10.jpg

making some holiday treats.

soon it was

time for maddy to

help me forget

about what happened earlier...

standing in her

pajamas, she hung

some ornaments on the

tree, and for a few

minutes i smiled.

and i didn't


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