I can't put my finger on it, but - now, don't hate me - I have never loved Christmas. In fact, all holidays send me spiraling. No one hates that fact more than me.
I grew up, well, poor, observing friends get cars and wardrobes on the 25th, while I remember wrapping what I already had so underneath the tree wouldn't seem so barren. And then, starting my own family I was told by
As I grow older, I think of the holidays and sad thoughts still percolate in my mind. I still have that quirky association of things and worth and honesty, and each season, I work harder to obliterate it. I try to put presents in the past - just stuff, I say. I realize I can have anything I want at anytime, so Christmas must mean something more, and it must no longer be a time to remember with sadness. It must be a time of yearning. We are moving past boxes. No to you retailers; there is NO "must have" list. There isn't any gadgets that will transform you into what you dream or things that will bring you satisfaction. This I know for sure. I've had stuff; stuff just brings more stuff. It shouldn't be the season that draws you into the stores, but the season that opens your heart to what is most important.
The baby in the manger who promised that everything would be alright. The teenager who opens the door when my hands just can't quite reach. The homeless woman sitting across the dinner table from me who has the most positive attitude that it makes me ashamed of myself. The everyday people who smile and make the effort to be kind. My children who answer the phone when I call or text. My husband who comes home each night with a full heart and warm hug.
Len has brought sparkle back into my holiday season, with his love of music and, when added with my love of twinkle lights, the stage - our home - is set. Logan comes home on Christmas day, eating to his heart's content, and for one day, he forgets that he must go back to work soon. Ty comes down the stairs as usual and reminds me of the healing power laughter brings. I firmly believe God has a reason for keeping him under our roof, and I believe it has to do more with me than with him. I miss Mari as only a mother can. She doesn't understand that computer screens just don't make up for touch, but one day, Caitlin will make sure she understands that distance is a most horrible evil. A cross-country move brought Mike back home this holiday season, and for that, I am so grateful. There's a light in Len's eye that only appears when a son returns. We continue to hope that Brian and his family will open their hearts to us.
For better or worse, this is where the Garrison family stands. Shaken. Tilted. Wobbly. Moving forward. Optimistic. I hold my present as tightly as I hold my past, those early holidays when I felt as poor as a church mouse when in reality, I was the richest of all. Come to find out, I had everything then that I wish I had today. I pray for our future Christmases, that one day, we'll need a table the size of the family Rockefeller. I can hope. The baby gives me hope.