For years, on Christmas Eve, my mother's family would gather at my Grandparent's house - a big ole place on the edge of town, just down from a little stream. When my Grandparents moved to smaller accommodations in the 90s, my Aunt & her husband bought the old house, moved their family in, but they kept the tradition of Christmas Eve alive there. I was lucky enough to spend many Christmas celebrations there - most of my life, well over 30 years worth. I can still picture so many of them in my mind - always impeccably decorated, the food was... legendary. Serving almost 100 people is no easy feat, but they always made it happen. I saw all my cousins, we shared stories, sang songs. Had drinks, made merry. I usually played guitar at some point. I really can't express the warmth my heart feels thinking about it all. A few years ago, festivities moved to my other Uncle & Aunt's place... after years, and so much effort - deservedly, my Aunt and her family got a break from hosting duties. But, well... the pandemic hit. And last year, we had no gather. Again this year... we have no gathering. I always knew those times would end - us "kids" have grown, we have families of our own... the size of the parties was nigh on untenable. So, our traditions change... but I will always carry those moments in my heart.
Point is, though, I didn't know the last time at my grandparents house was the last time we'd have our celebration there. Sometimes you don't know when that last dance is. And, the human tendency is to never think of those things - which is why so many people are shocked when things end, I suppose. But, for me, it's another reminder that sometimes you have to enjoy things like it might be the last dance. And you think back on it all, and you're just happy that you got to be in that number.