As 2016 comes to an end, I once again find myself going through my end of the year routine of bittersweet feelings. Christmas is a day for everyone to enjoy, but year in and year out as the day passes and the sun rises on December 26th I always find myself with feelings of something to be desired.
Growing up, my family always hosted Christmas at our house. Relatives from all over the country flew and drove their way to California. Cousins came over with their football so that we could play a pickup game in the street. Grandparents came with their world-famous recipes that filled the house with glorious aromas that would linger until January. Aunties would sit around the tree gossiping and telling embarrassing stories about one another from their high school days. Uncles would sit around the backyard table playing cards and remind us that they were the coldest pop warner football player who ever lived. We showered each other with love laughs as we showed appreciation for one another andreassured each other that the love of family outweighed any gift that could be bought.
As nighttime came and the final NBA game finished, everyone packed up their things, made themselves a to-go plate, shared hugs, piled into their cars and drove away, pledging to one another that we would all get together again very soon. The problem was these were lies, and we all knew they were. The unfortunate reality was that the next time all of us would be able to share each other’s company and celebrate one another would be in 364 days.
My bittersweet mood surrounding the holidays has nothing to do with Christmas. My feelings arise only because it is a constant reminder that loved ones should not need a special day to be shown how much they mean to me. It’s a remorseful wake up call bringing light to my hesitation and laziness. And yet, here I sit, just like every other December, feeling the same way I have always felt. Wishing that family could share each others' warmth and joy all the time, as if the solution to that problem is not sitting right here in my hand. It starts with me.
The good news is that the first step in solving a problem is acknowledging it. The good news is that there is no such thing as showing too much love. The good news is that when December 25 comes around in 2017, the holidays will not arrive bringing the gloom I usually feel. In fact, they will feel no different than any other day since reaching out to extended family will be commonplace and routine. The good news is that starting now, every day will be Christmas.
Happy Holidays! - Theodore