>It’s almost Christmas, and for the first time in years I recognize that I’m beginning to make a little bit of peace with it. Here’s the thing; I used to be pretty righteous about my disdain for Christmas. I didn’t really want anything to do with it once I was old enough to not be dragged along to tree lots, and midnight masses. I watched the sad look in my parent’s eyes when I trash talked something they really enjoyed. Granted, I was younger, and just figuring out my politics, my spirituality, my power in the world. It seems like when you are growing up, you forget that other people have feelings for awhile. What I’m learning now, is that the cliché about calming with age is true. I’m not nearly as self-righteous as I used to be and I’m feeling ready to settle in, sit back, and enjoy things like the holidays. Funny, last year was the first Christmas that I didn’t spend with my family.
I couldn’t afford a flight home, or take the time off work, and so stuck around my city. The fallout that came along with not being near my family on this holiday was intense. I really hadn’t even thought that they would care. I had seen them a few months before and I guess I wanted to believe that Christmas didn’t mean as much to them either. When I got home from work a few days before and discovered a large box from my mom on the porch, I decided to open it early.
Sitting in my living room with the box on the table, I picked at the packing tape for a minute, wondering what was inside. When I opened the box, what I found were a random assortment of gifts that I hadn’t been expecting at all; record player, a fancy fountain pen, dishtowels, some pajamas, and a gift certificate for a plane ticket. I opened the card, to find an individual Christmas greeting from each member of my family with photos of each of them in a Santa hat. My hands began to sweat. When I opened the card from my mother, I found a letter tucked inside.
I’m really upset that you didn’t come home. Your Dad and I miss you a lot and its just not Christmas without you here. It really isn’t fair or okay for you to not be here until you are married and have a family. We love you. –Mom
As I read, my unexpected pain hit the paper in wet splotches smudging the purple ink on the paper. My mother isn’t a particularly emotional woman, tending to drown or buy happiness instead of showing the tender parts of herself. I get that, I mean, the drowning part.
The box on the coffee table was causing me to reevaluate more about life than I had in a long time. It was literally the most thoughtful and loving thing my mother had done for me since I could remember. The thing is; my mom (like many others, I’m sure) buys me what she thinks I should have, rather than what she knows I like, or am interested in. The thing about this box, was that, not only had she bared something to me, but, she had absolutely been thinking about who I am, and what would make me happy. The pen alone would have been enough to send me ink blotchy over the threshold of control. My mom, isn’t particularly supportive of my writing things.
The first year I didn’t go home for Christmas was the one that I felt the closest to.
This year I’m going home. This year, I’m going to slouch around in my new pajamas, drink pots of coffee all day long and I’m going to try and love my family a little bit. If that’s not cheesy holiday goodness, I don’t know what is.
Happy Whatever-i-days to ya’ll. I hope its manageable and maybe even kind of enjoyable this year.