Remember when you were a kid and all you could think about on Christmas morning was jumping off the couch and doing a swan dive into the pile of presents Santa brought you? I was that kid, and I’m sure most if not all of you were too. It really is funny how things change though as you get older.
This year our financial situation, which is worse than most people realize or understand, only allowed us to buy gifts for my family. My wife and I couldn’t even buy gifts for each other, though we did buy each of our dogs a toy and a bag of rawhide bones for them and they were really happy when we gave them to them.
We didn’t have a tree, or lights or in fact anything in our lives that made it even remotely feel like Christmas this year except for one little tiny tree with fiber optic lights and the three toys we wrapped up for our dogs.
Yesterday we went out to my parent’s house and spent the day with them, my sister, my nieces, and my niece’s fiance. Although we weren’t able to get each of them as much as I would have liked, we did get them some nice small gifts that they all seemed to like. We had a lot of great food and the whole day was just really nice.
My father’s not in the best of health anymore and he’s not getting any younger. His knees are shot and he’s had a variety of health issues in the last year or two. Every time I see him now it breaks my heart to see how his body has deteriorated on him. This man who used to be so young and strong, now getting old and weak as his body seems to be an endless source of pain for him. He fought in the Korean war, which caused him hearing loss that has gotten progressively worse over the years, and after he came back he got married, had three children, and busted his ass, going without the things he wanted, just to make sure that we all had the things we wanted. He did a lot of physically hard work, including construction which has led to many of the arthritis problems he’s having now. These problems keep him in his chair sleeping a lot because he physically can’t be very active because of the pain anymore.
So I look at this man who I never appreciated the way I should have when I was young, but who, as I became an adult, I came to see as a genuine hero, and I realize that being with the ones you love and making sure you love and appreciate them the way they deserve is more important than money or presents or decorations or anything else in this world.
My mother was always our foundation. She was a stay at home mom and she was always volunteered at school and worked with us, taught us, helped us with everything and was always there for us, just like my father was. Fortunately, her health is considerably better than my father’s and she’s still going strong.
Being with them and realizing that the time I have with them is so precious, makes everything else seem supremely unimportant. There aren’t any presents or decorations or any amount of money that will ever make the feeling of loss go away when they’re gone someday, and that really puts it all in perspective. I mean, sure it’s nice to be able to give the people you love nice presents for Christmas, and to get nice presents in return, but the best present of all that anyone could ever ask for is to just be with the ones you love. Without that, you have nothing.
I’m so fortunate to have my beautiful wife Sharon, my family, our doggies, and everything else that I have in my life. As long as I have those things, I’m the richest man who ever lived, and I hope they all know how much I love and appreciate having them in my life.
(Current Mood: sad