This is a great family time, despite all the challenges and usual family problems that most of us face. So I thought I'd share a little beyond my children to my immediate progeny (all of whom have been in my apartment for the past few days, the first time all my kids and grandkids have been with me without their spouses etc.) and beyond.
So first of all, here's a holiday take from my slightly younger cousin Kathi, who has tried to comment on some recent posts and couldn't get it to happen, so I thought I'd quote an e mail she sent me that gives a different version of some of my Christmas stories (she and her sister lived with my Uncle Lydie (full name Michael Lydon Lally) and my Aunt Peggy and my Irish immigrant grandparents down the street from my family's house, where there were six siblings still living including my dear departed sister Joan and next door four cousins that included David, who would become another cop in the extended family):
"Hi My Cool –
If you have forgotten, your Uncle Lydie’s favorite story about your toddler years concerned him dubbing you 'Mike' and you responding to him with your hands on your hips: 'My’s not Mike…My’s My Cool.' I always thought that was so cute because I didn’t know you as a toddler – not yet a sparkle in my dad’s eye - and very appropriate…a harbinger, since I always thought you were the coolest being on the planet. I have been reading your blog and keeping up with your recovery. Amazing how you can now and have been able to analyze your thought processes and intuitive reactions, every day improving. See? Still the coolest guy on the planet. Perhaps someday you will collect all of the blog entries to publish. In addition to the assist such a book might help creative persons figuring out the paths of creativity, it could also help anyone who might be facing their own fear of upcoming surgery. I’m sure the medical industry would be interested in such a book as well.
I have tried [many times] to respond in 'comments' to your blog, but alas…either I am hopelessly technically deficient, or my security system is too damn vigilant. I’ve been crazed with Christmas plans – shopping, wrapping, making fudge and other candies, planning the trip to Connecticut, packing, yadda yadda… and should have responded to your blog sooner via email – but here I am now, so very happy that this brain surgery was successful and not fraught with bad news. I was one of those 'pray every moment' people when Irene told me you were in a bit of trouble.
Reading the last two blog entries about Christmas prompted me to write now – because your memory of standing in the cold waiting for the trees to be bought or donated reminded me of what I like to call the years of insane Christmases on Hixon Place. There was the 'year of the ice skates' when Mickie and I came down to discover brand new white sparkling skates under the tree – only to discover them gone the next day, replaced by hand-me-downs. In Mickie’s case, they were Joan’s gently used ones…and in my case, David’s black hockey skates – hardly used. It seems that your dad had someone in town that 'needed' the new ones more than we did. Hahahha!! Then there was the 'year of the sleds' – where we both saw brand new sleds under the tree – and then they were gone – replaced by our old sleds – painted up to look new. And the year of the 'kitten' which was brought in late Christmas Eve because the only pet grandma would allow was a 'ratter'. The damn thing sprung out of the Christmas tree and attached itself with its little deadly claws to my face. We remember these and other crazy things each year, but not with bitterness or envy, or even a sense of umbrage. We laugh heartily about it all, [a very consistent Lally trait through all the generations] trying to imagine what was going on in our parents’ inner life. They were bizarre, bawdy, and fun and also malfunctioning alcoholics that loved each other passionately yet fought like vipers. Christmas just brought out all of those traits. The piece of my life I am most grateful for is getting to know my father sober for 20 years before he died – and my mother sober for 9 years before she died.
Speaking of this particular Christmas, it was lovely. How can Christmas not be lovely in Brookfield CT, home of Mickie’s youngest, Patrick, his wife Susan, and their two spectacular kids? We went to an afternoon Mass Christmas Eve to watch the youngest grands [John Michael’s kids] in their pageant. Michael Lydon, 4, was one of the three Kings and John Peter, 5, was the innkeeper that had room in his stable. Soooo cute. Everyone was there with the exception of Joseph and his new bride Carrie, who traveled to Kansas to Carrie’s family.
I am still praying for you and I pray that this new year, 2010, brings you even more inner peace. It is wonderful to read how Cait and Miles are helping you in your recovery. How blessed you are to have such caring and loving children. Keep up the good work.
And then this morning I got turned on to another family goodie by my older son who got his 11-year-old boy to show me a little Youtube video he, my grandson, made, so I share that here too, a little grandfatherly chest puffing. (That's his father's, my older son's, classic shoebox Ford in the snow in the early shots.)