Somewhere about September I deemed the 12 months after he left "The Year of Firsts" I am still only four months into it.
The First of the Firsts(tm) happened to be the date that would have been our tenth anniversary. I took the day off work just in case I was a sniveling mess. I ended up doing a fat lot of nothing and then handing out candy with some good friends who get about seventeen thousand trick or treaters.
Now I have almost weathered the entire holiday season of firsts. There has been little to no fuss. Oh, sure...there have been tears, but I didn't shut down and I didn't feel like chucking the whole idea of the holidays and just holing up in bed with fast food and wine coolers.
Tonight was the First Family Christmas Eve(tm) without him. It went well. Really well. Amazingly well, even. I didn't feel overshadowed or worried or wondering how to make it look like we were happier than we were. I didn't have to PRETEND. It was liberating. I loved it.
Of course, my family makes this easy for me as they are immensely supportive. We might not all be normal, but we stick together. And we love each other. Unconditionally. Truly. As I've gotten older the bonds between me and my family have grown closer. The ex didn't quite grok that, his family not operating on this same premise. And so, even though he was happy about it, he always thought it was a bit foreign.
Tonight though, I was not a foreigner here. I was family. Loved in all my imperfection. And it was the best Christmas I've had in years.