This time of year this word defines us all, like it or not; we all are defined by where we come from. I have a very unique situation as my blood family lives in Alaska, which sometimes is not far enough!! I have what I call my Memphis Family, a small group of people whom I depend on like they were my blood family. It is a special bond where genuine feelings and heart felt love abound. As I sat around a Christmas Eve dinner table last night I started to think about family. As all of my Memphis Families, real families, started to gather the personalities that gathered were amazing. What is truly amazing is how at certain times of the year we all get a little more tolerate of each other. Giving one another the benefit of the doubt, a little more space than we might give during another time of the year.
Then I remembered what must be my most memorable Christmas ever with my parents. I have an older sister who always wanted to be something akin to Martha Stewart!! Well she was coming for Christmas, and wanted to cook Christmas breakfast. I can remember my Dad like it was yesterday telling my Mother it was going to be a disaster and to be prepared to save the day with the normal family fare. I was old enough to be able to make a little fun and took every opportunity to do so. On Christmas Morning my sister was up before the sun making these candy cane sweet rolls. I had gotten up early just to watch the show, I was not disappointed, and the kitchen could only be described as a disaster, flour and ingredients everywhere. My sister, trying to make this Christmas, a Christmas to remember, in a way other than I am seeing it as I write this. Along with my sister came her husband at the time a salesman from Miami, who my dad never really trusted. They brought with them their first-born son who was about 2 at the time. My Dad was a drill instructor for the 101st Air Borne he was a tuff no nonsense guy. My sister was trying to be a good parent, in her eyes, as a “Please and Thank you parent” needless to say this was as foreign to my dad as the candy cane sweet rolls. We could not keep this kid away from the Christmas tree for anything. My Mother ever trying to be the mediator was watching this kid like a hawk because my Dad had already said he knew how to solve the problem. Once again me being at that age I was dying to see my Dads wrath bestowed on this little brat. Well it happened, we were sitting in the living room watching T.V. and he comes little precious walking right toward the tree. He reaches for a bottom ornament and my dad, in his best drill sergeant voice says” LEAVE THAT TREE ALONE BOY!!!!!” well this innocent little angel from heaven above wet his pants and falls into the floor in the fetal position screaming crying. Well here comes the women brigade from the kitchen, my Mother leading the pack. She scoops up little angel and off to the bedroom all the while giving my Dad that stare like later we will get this straight. She rarely crossed my Dad, but we both knew he would pay for this one later. My sister stood there not knowing what to say as she had grown up in the house and knew the drill. And here was salesman guy as scared as his kid knowing he was the last person in Memphis that could say something to my Dad. Me, I am rolling on the floor laughing which was not making things better.. My Mother after claming the chosen one down comes in and asked me to come to the kitchen and help her. I knew it was dead. She asked me why I had not stepped in and stopped my Dad from yelling at baby wonderful? I told her baby wonderful needed to, know what discipline looked like. I asked her to take a look at her children and see if growing up with Dad had hurt us. She smiled, and said that the only thing hurting was our bottoms sometimes! I hugged her and we laughed. God I miss her.
That story was relived I every Christmas, that my oldest sister was not home, for the rest of my parents lives. That is what Christmas and family is all about.
As I write this is I am getting a little misty eyed thinking about my Mother and Dad. How he worked 2 and 3 jobs during this time of the year so his family would have some things they wanted. That’s what Christmas means to this Blessed Man. A family working together to make sure each other has a better Christmas than the other. Being willing to give up your Christmas so that someone else might have a better one.
Once again as I wind this one down I sit here and realize what a blessed life I have always led. There are millions of people that have never had half the blessing I have had in my short life. So as I close this little post, thanks to my dad and Mother for showing me how to recognize a blessing and hopefully how to pass one along.
Merry Christmas to all and may 2010 bring you the blessing you want and deserve.