The days leading up to Christmas used to be much fun and at times a little hectic.
I had a list of presents to get for Dominic, a list for items I wanted to bake and a list of people that would get a funny Christmas card. Then there was the food list, and the list of people who would get my famous rum cake. A list of people to visit. I almost needed a list for the lists.
I would always have one gag gift for Dominic and I knew he had one for me. We would try to outdo each other with the most creative and crazy way to wrap it, so the other would spend half of the day unwrapping.
From the time he was little until adulthood, we celebrated Christmas the German and American way. There were a few gifts exchanged on Christmas eve and then there were a few under the tree for him to enjoy on Christmas morning. When he was little he always though he scored double. And just as it became clear that it was mom who bought the presents and not Santa Claus, it became clear to him that I just divided those gifts. Many times I teased him about how he thought he always got much more presents because he was German/American.
When Dominic was 10 years old, he asked me about the homeless kids and what they would do or get for Christmas. There was no better time to teach him and a few neighbor kids a valuable lesson. I asked each of them to bring a box of gently used toys and clothes and we all piled into our van and drove to a homeless shelter in Riverside. On the way there these little people were all excited for Christmas and all the gifts they expected. The noise level was up there and I smiled to hear such excitement. The ride home was a very different one. No one talked anymore about what gifts they wanted. Tears were running down some of those sweet cheeks and everyone was in deep thought. They all realized just how blessed they were to have a home to return to. Dominic was forever changed and so was I. It wasn’t about Christmas gifts or any other holiday that required gifts. It was all about who you chose to spend time with and how to appreciate everything you already have.
Dominic and I created our own Tradition from then on. He would usually work the shift for someone that had a family with kids. It wasn’t about the gifts or the food anymore. It was about the time we spend together. There were times I spend Christmas at a Firestation with him while he volunteered, or at the 911 Dispatch Center.
We created 30 years of memories that will never be erased in my heart and mind. I have tons of pictures to cherish and smile about.
There will no longer be a tradition to carry forward with him. There will no longer be that one gag gift that would have me on the floor laughing as I was unwrapping it.
There won’t be that deep voice and ginormous hug to wish me the very best of Christmas.
There is a lot of pain that comes for many of us who are missing a loved one. We have to learn to deal with this grief on so many levels. Every commercial is geared towards family, every store and restaurant plays the music that used to be so dear to me and now makes me cry and want to leave.
Christmas will never be the same and NO, time does not heal all wounds.
I shared all this to have you realize that in the end, we don’t remember the gift we received years back, or the food that was in front of us. We wont remember how much we spend or what stress we felt.
All we WILL REMEMBER and cherish is the time we spent with a person and how they made us feel.
Take a deep breath and stop running yourself crazy over things no one will remember later on. Enjoy every laugh and hug and enjoy the quiet time of just being still.
I wish each and everyone of you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS/ FROEHLICHE WEIHNACHTEN and A HAPPY NEW YEAR/GESUNDES NEUES JAHR.
many tight DOMHUGS from DOMSMOM