Don't Shoot the Messenger 12-20-2017


I was visiting with my son on the phone the other day. He sounded tired and maybe a little overwhelmed as a parent. You could hear his three little angels in the background. I couldn’t quite make out if it was the gathering of Armageddon or just a normal day in a young household.  Just about the time I was really feeling empathy for his plight, I remembered my son’s teenage years. Well, then I probably enjoyed his predicament more than I should have.

We began to talk about Christmas. Past, present and future. We reminisced on our family traditions and favorite memories. And I came to realize something. My son’s fondest holiday magic was, in reality, near Christmas catastrophes, in my opinion.

One year I had slaved, no literally SLAVED, to gift my children the perfect holiday. The house was clean. Their Christmas pajamas purchased. The larder was stocked with all manner of celebratory feasting material. Gifts were stacked high. I settled my highly excited boys down for their Night before Christmas fairytale and then dragged myself to bed. I no more got into bed than I heard a noise that bears terror to your soul. The sound of gushing water. The burst pipe was quickly filling the basement. I cannot print what I said, but I’m sure that you grasp my intent. We stopped the water. Made a pot of coffee. Gathered around the upstairs Christmas tree and celebrated being together.

Once the kids are released for Christmas vacation and the teachers take a collective breath of relief, parents everywhere scramble to find activities to maintain peace on earth, or at least harmony at home. For some reason, one year, my children really embraced the spirit of giving. And a large part of their sharing nature manifested itself into giving to our dog. Giving gifts of fudge, eggnog and basically anything else they themselves didn’t want. In the dog’s defense, he held in there like a champ. Right up until Christmas Eve. We awoke Christmas morning to more than filled stockings. In fact, nearly every square foot of the living room, dining room, hallway and kitchen was covered. And it wasn’t with fresh fallen snow. 

By the end of our conversation I began to understand how important those times were. We may not always be able to be together during the holidays, but I know that the memories I built with my children are being shared with their children. On Christmas Eve, no matter where we are, we will all be looking at the light displays and recalling those special times.

Merry Christmas to you all.

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