This was the first Christmas Roger spent away from Elise and Cassie, and he missed only one or two with his dad and siblings over the years. Last year we attended the Skophammer Christmas Eve celebration along with my parents. We had a great time in 2007. This year, Elise was not going to the Skopies for Christmas Eve, so we decided to spend the holiday in Minot with my family. It was not an easy decision to make for either of us. I knew how difficult it would be for Roger to be away from his family and also know that he would do anything to make me happy. I didn’t want to take advantage of his kindness, but he seemed willing to spend the holiday in Minot. We did. We had a great time. It was quiet. We read a lot. When Roger called his family, he didn’t seem sad, but genuinely happy. I was glad. I enjoy the chaos of the Skophammer family quite a bit, and I did miss watching the family open the presents. I missed having Ethan and Brianna on my lap during different times throughout the evening. I missed seeing Patsy open her “vintage” Coach purse. I missed driving late on Christmas Eve in search of oyster crackers (okay, I don’t really miss that!). I missed the family Christmas while enjoying the Schmid family Christmas as well.
I believe that because we were missing the family Christmas, we were able to spend better quality time with different family members. Roger and I made time to cook dinner for Gwen and Jerry. We spent more time with Trish than in years past. I had the pleasure of showing Nathan and Laura some of the joys and the pains of cooking (Nathan cut his finger while slicing potatoes and Laura learned of licking the bowl after making fudge!). We spent a quiet evening with Pete, Dawn, Grant, Ethan, Luke and Roger 1 eating sloppy joes and just talking. We never do that. I think that is the most I’ve spoken to Dawn at any time. We all had a great day of sliding/sledding. There were so many moments of one-on-one time with family members that I’ve not experienced as much in the past. I enjoyed watching movies with Patsy, having dinner at Bill’s restaurant with Jerry, having coffee and dessert with Trish and the kids and Paul, seeing the boys skate on their backyard rink, having lunch at Zeke’s with Roger 1, and so many other fun activities. Not to mention all the time with Elise, Owen, Cassie and even Mike. All these times remind us of what family is all about. Yes, we missed the chaotic Christmas Eve celebration, but we gained time with almost everyone. Next year we will go to the Skophammer Christmas Eve and enjoy ourselves thoroughly. But, I will always remember fondly the quiet Christmases with the Skophammers in 2008.