For many, Christmas is a time to get together with family and friends, enjoy good food, and open Santa’s gifts. If you were a fly in my wall, you would have seen all that…. and more. It’s been a busy month for me; lots of shopping, cooking, cleaning, preparing my home to visiting family and friends… it was easy to loose perspective and think “I can’t wait to get it over with.”
I am sitting here thinking about the last two days at our house, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This year has been atypical. For the first time since I’ve had kids, my mother and Yanni have been here to experience their joy and happiness on Christmas Day. Also the first time my in-laws and my parents have stayed under the same roof together. It’s the first time my cousin Miguel from Spain has visited the United States. It’s the first year I feel my kids have truly understood who and what Santa does. The first time Sofia has sat and taken a picture with Santa. And sadly, perhaps the last time we celebrate Christmas with Eric’s father (his story is another post).
It’s this last “celebration” that I feel defines the true meaning of Christmas. Sitting on a sofa chair was Eric’s father being fed by my husband pureed Christmas dinner with a Gerber spoon. A small bowl of food may take a 6 month old 5 minutes to eat, it takes his father a lifetime. Lots of things go on around him while he eats sitting motionless all night. My kids dance around him, talk to him, and even pet him on his arm now and then. As I reflect on the past ten years, I think about how this man has gone from being a fully functioning golf pro to a powerless individual, I feel much sadness in my heart.
Meanwhile, the others are ready to take a nap from having eaten two plates of food, gone through dessert and are on their second cup of coffee; while my husband patiently continues to feed his father. My eyes teared up as I watched my mother-in-law sit by her ex’s side, while her son is feeding him, and as she attentively holds his hand and lovingly talks to him despite no response from Eric’s dad. For me, this was a surprise given his absence as a father and husband. Christmas is about family; and regardless of the crap that might have happened in the past between two people, this time of the year makes us focus on the good things and the relationships that are important now. There was no resentment nor hate, no negative feelings in the room that night… only love. To me, Love is the true meaning of Christmas. What is it for you? Please share your experience.