I got the blogs in me goin’ back to back. That was a Drake reference. Anywho, I’m back for night number two! Ironically enough, I had views last night after my amazingly raw and poorly formatted entry…5 to be exact! Shout out to you all who read and especially to the one that followed me. You definitely sparked a flame under me to just keep going.
Intro over, now let’s talk about Christmas! For those of you who celebrate Christmas…MERRY CHRISTMAS TIME! For those who don’t, I respect your choices…one of the best things you can have in life is freedom of choice. I know everyone celebrates it differently but I personally LOVE an extravagant Christmas. Some people might call me a consumer…perhaps? My wife occasionally thinks so, but I also think she understands why. I’m not a consumer in the old fashioned sense. I don’t splurge wildly throughout the year, but when Christmas rolls around something nostalgic comes to life in me. Let me explain.
I won’t say I was poor when I was a kid, but, let’s go with less fortunate. I always understood the value of money and non-monetary things because my upbringing was modest from the financial perspective. My mother and father always did their best to ensure my brother and I had all of our basic needs covered. What we lacked financially we more than made up for in terms of love…there was always a lot of that to go around. My brother and I were very grateful for everything we ever got. We didn’t make life difficult for our parents, we just understood how life worked very early on. I probably have broken my children because DAMN are they spoiled! It’s not their fault and I’m not mad about it by any means, but I understand that I have to be more creative to impress the value of money and assets upon them. I’ve been blessed to do better than my parents in the financial realm and I always said that if I had money then I’d make sure my children never longed for anything. Does that mean they’re necessarily better off than I was given my circumstances growing up? I don’t think so, not even close. I actually think they’re worse off, but I do feel as though they’re very wise and not TOO entitled or bratty (though they have their moments). What am I going to do though, try to exactly replicate my upbringing for them even though the circumstances are vastly different? Nope, highly unlikely. It’s not probable (possible, just not probable at all).
That’s all backstory to say…I LOVE CHRISTMAS! You see, where my brother and I lacked all year long my parents more than made their best efforts to make up for on Christmas. I remember the joy of making a list. I itemized it based on how bad I wanted a specific item because I knew if there was something I REALLY wanted that this would be my best shot. Santa…that’s right…SANTA was bringing it for me because I was good all year long. I’m not ashamed to admit I believed in Santa way longer than I probably should have (I believed all the way until 8th grade). There was magic during this time and as a child growing up with a modest lifestyle I soaked up every moment of the season. I enjoyed watching all of the old school Christmas shows such as Rudolph, the cartoon Grinch, and Frosty. I enjoyed Miracle on 34th Street, The Polar Express, and Jingle All The Way (arguably one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s finest films). I enjoyed cold mornings and hot cocoa. Everything just felt so right about this time of year. I recall baking cookies for good ol’ Saint Nick and placing out an accompanying glass of milk, and struggling to sleep at night thinking about the next morning. Waking up to a tree full of gifts was awesome. Something about just seeing everything under the tree seemed more exciting than actually opening the gifts themselves. It was a special day of family and loved ones.
Now that I’m an adult I strive to hold onto that feeling and magic as much as I can, but it’s not the same. My siblings are often too busy, and my kids get so much all year long from my wife and I, as well as their grandparents, and occasionally their father (I’m the stepfather of 2 of biological father of 1), that they struggle to even come up with a list of more than 5 or 6 things. They’re not really asking for much during this time because they seemingly have everything. Which is great, but as a parent I still think of things they’ve mentioned throughout the year to buy for them anyway…some being needs, some being fun and nice-to-haves. I look forward to that moment on Christmas so much so that I probably go overboard, but I don’t think anyone in my family, my wife included, could possibly fathom how the feelings and the memories of Christmas mornings have impacted my psyche. My wife grew up much like our kids…she got pretty much everything she wanted when she wanted. The older I get the more I begin to realize I’ll never recapture that feeling. Life is just different. It saddens me but I’m immensely grateful knowing my children are well taken care of.
There was an excitement of what becoming a father for Christmas would mean. Perhaps, once I make just a tad more money I’ll have to evolve what that feeling looks like by creating experiences for my family rather than buying them material goods. Trips to a nice Christmassy location or maybe even somewhere tropical…who knows. Maybe that is the next evolution of my Christmas experience that will help generate a new excitement someday. However, I’ll leave you with this story. I get choked up thinking about it because it is one of the memories I’ll carry with me, forever. I want to also say…Dad, I love you. You mean the world to me. I know inevitably one day your time will come to pass, though I hope it’s no day soon. You have to know that even though you experienced a rough patch with mom and the family, I respect you sticking with us through it all and always being there. I had such disdain for you for a period of time but you always supported me and you still helped to show me what it was to be a man. I could never do or say enough to let you know that I looked up to you, and still look up to you so much. Thank you for being a father and not just a donor. Anywho, back to this memory.
I remember I was 11. The year was 1996. My family and I had been living in a rental property that my father and mother were collectively working 4 jobs to afford. It was September and I had my Christmas list prepared. The hottest new toy on the market was the headliner of my list this year…think back, can you guess what it was? THAT’S RIGHT, a Nintendo 64. I knew we didn’t have a lot of money, but a boy could dream…so I tossed it on there anyway. I was going to be grateful for whatever I got, if anything at all. Soon it was November, and Christmas was right around the corner, but something was drastically different this year. The week after Thanksgiving a pipe burst in our house while everyone was away. Mom and Dad were at work, while my brother and I were at school. My mom worked at our school so we came home together. When we arrived there was horror. The entire house was flooded in what seemed like about a foot of water. The carpets and walls were ruined and probably even more than that. The landlord was alerted and stopped by the property to check out the damage. He told my parents we had to be out before the first of the year. He didn’t care where we went or what would happen to the children, he simply said “I want you out of here”. My mother cried and I hugged her. She informed my brother and I that everything was going to be okay and not to worry. I did my best not to, but seeing how the whole scenario played out really bothered me. It still does. The feeling of having someone have a certain level of power over aspects of your life still troubles me to this day, be it renting a place or working for a company that could let you go at any moment. I digress, regardless of the situation my parents still tried to keep the spirit lively, but they could tell that my brother and I didn’t have that same energy this season. We just wanted to be supportive and were more focused on helping with the move more so than opening presents. That’s just how we were wired. Come Christmas morning we had a more reserved offering of presents, which still was more than my brother and I could even imagine. My mom made breakfast and we began to open up the presents, the energy began to pick up a bit. Christmas started to feel more like the holiday we were accustomed to and for a moment the troubles of our circumstances eluded us. After opening up everything there was one more gift. It wasn’t from Santa though, it was from Mom and Dad. I peeled the paper back slowly to reveal a Nintendo 64 and my excitement shot through the roof. My dad then proceeded to tell me a tale of triumph. My father, who worked 3 shifts, made his way to Walmart after his last shift to stand in line to wait to get one of the most highly sought after consoles. There were no reservations during this time, it was first come first serve. He told me that he got the last one that morning and he couldn’t wait until Christmas morning to see me open it. The story made me cry and it still almost does. My parents were always looking out for me in spite of themselves. I looked forward to being the kind of father that would put my children before myself, and I do my best to do that in any form or fashion. The fact it was a consumer good was irrelevant. My father and mother were always there for me and always went out of their way to do their best for us and by us, and that has carried over in me. So, yes…my children are spoiled…and to a point that’s okay. More so than spoiling them with gifts I do my best to spoil them with love, care, and support as well and that extends beyond December 25th. Christmas will always hold a special place in my heart and if I go a little overboard, it’s okay I guess.
Thanks for reading if you read this. Be blessed and let me know in the comments what is your fondest Christmas memory? Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!