I did all my Christmas shopping in one quick burst of productivity. I found out my brother was coming up for sure, so I set out to get some things for him to open under the tree. And we are getting a tree, this tree:
The Dude is out buying it now, supposing there are any left. I imagine this pathetic little number will be popular with the likes of other fellow 20-somethings-sans-children.
But getting back to my brother, while I'm really looking forward to a quiet Christmas with the Dude, having my brother here will add that family cozy element to the holiday. Also I can't help but feel a little maternal towards him and that makes me want to try harder to have a nice Christmas for him.
He really wanted to make it here before Jerry passed. Jerry was his cat. He named him Jeremy when he was 8 years old, I'm pretty sure after a kid in my class who was a bit of a troublemaker. He did this to bother me, I think, because having a cat named for someone in your class is awkward and my brother specialized in driving me crazy. I started calling Jeremy "Jerry" for short to make it less obnoxious. Luckily it stuck. I don't know how many cats have nicknames, but that cat did. Eventually we stopped referring to the cats as Smokey and Jeremy entirely.
My brother and his friends gave him other nicknames, like Jeremiah King of the Gypsies. The Dude's brother called him Little Jerry Seinfeld. I called him Geriatric Jerry. When the spirit moved me, he also went by Jerome and Gerald. He was born to be nicknamed, that cat.
But although my brother missed Jerry, Smokey could use the visit from him. He's been lonely and sucky, poor little guy. I decided to get Jerry's ashes returned to me, which I'm hoping to give my brother when he's here, thinking maybe he'd like to sprinkle them somewhere meaningful as a way to say goodbye.
It's an interesting season this year. There's been hard choices, loss, and a new feeling of adult responsibility. And now making my own Christmas rather than only participating. It's an unexpected little milestone to cross. Surprisingly and pleasantly so, I feel positive about it.