I remember on Christmas Eve when we went skating on the pond behind aunt’s house. It had been below freezing for several days and we were all excited to see the pond iced over. There were several of us there and all of the cousins were out sliding on our bellies, asses and feet across the ice. I miss the Christmas eves that we used to have at my aunt’s. We would all gather together from all over the place for one evening. Her kids and their families would come in from out of state and all of the other cousins would show up even if just for a few moments.

Now we are lucky to get a handful of us together. My mother and all of her sisters still show up. The cousins now all have children of their own and are beginning their own traditions. They are all going their separate ways to take little ones to see other grandparents or staying at home to await Santa.

We still play dirty Santa and other Christmas party games. We listen to my cousin, Rhonda, sing and my cousin, David, plays mandolin and fiddle. But Christmas is not the same as it once was. I miss the skating. I miss the cousins.