My brother flew into ORD and rode with us down to Florida, which was fun. JJ moved to the pacific northwest to learn how to build boats a couple of years ago, so I don’t get to hang out with him a lot anymore.
We got into Ft. Myers in the afternoon of the 23rd and first up was taking the Bishop kids photo. This is a semi annual tradition in our family. Any time all three of us are together, we try to get a picture so it can be framed for my mom.
My sister turned me on to a couple of presets (for use with Lightroom- which has an app for iOS), which are absolutely lovely.
Nico adores my sister’s kids. But I mean, what’s not to love? Cousins close in age and who love sports! Yeah- Nico is all in for that. They mostly just roughhouse and play sports. Sometimes there is physical damage. Like when he had a head to head collision with Emme’s teeth:
And another time, when he stepped on something out in the back yard and cut his foot. I tell you what- you get that city kid out of the city and the next thing you know, he’s running around barefoot like a country kid.
Christmas Eve consisted of some last minute shopping and Christmas movies. We also put up a tree with all of mom’s special ornaments, including all the antique ones that survived the Tree Disaster of 1986, where in JJ tried to climb the Christmas tree (spoiler: he failed and broke a bunch of ornaments that mom had from THE VICTORIAN ERA).
Christmas Eve night, I made egg fondue, one of our family Christmas traditions with my nieces. It’s not really fondue-more like an egg, sausage, and cheese casserole. Also, I grew up thinking it was some type of Bishop family tradition brought from the old country (even though the cheese that is included is Velveeta. I was kind of a dumb kid.)
Christmas morning was fantastic-per usual. The kids pretty much played all day. Including a game where they did diving catches (onto couch cushions).
Mom was tired- so she napped a lot and let us wait on her. And I started to come down with some type of head cold, so I napped a bit. That’s always exciting. The good news, is that it appears to be settling into my chest- so I have that going for me.
The day after, we all headed off to our respective engagements; my sister’s family to a wedding in Texas, me to run the boys over to Miami, mom to her last radiation appointment. JJ and I hung around after for a couple of days to hang out with mom.
JJ and I snuck out to Matlacha for a late lunch one day and got some ice cream the next. It was nice to be able to just drive and soak up some sun.
Then we swung through Miami to scoop up the boys and got under way to get home. This took us through Louisville, where Dave showed us some of his old haunts.
We’re home now though. It was good to get out of Chicago and drive out in the sunshine. I drove back and forth across south Florida on Alligator Alley, which was nice.
This was a weird Christmas. I’m still processing it. I think there was definitely a sense that this might be mom’s last Christmas. But it’s weird to think about, since her diagnosis is only about a month and a half old. I mean, she hasn’t even started chemo yet. So that seems hasty. Maybe also, because it was so short, which is different. Usually our visits are longer- we definitely get the chance to be on each other’s nerves- so we’re ready to go. It wasn’t like that this time.
Or maybe I’m just worn out. I feel like 2018 kicked the shit out of me. It would be great if 2019 took it down a notch.