Friday, December 17, 2004

Christmas Molasses

I’m so bummed that I can’t get pictures downloaded from my camera to this computer because there are so many beautiful things I want to share with the Internet! Beautiful tree skirts that my Aunt has in her house, quilts that I remember from childhood. Maybe I will find an Internet café today, or a photo shop.

I’m spending from about 9am to 9pm at the retirement center, since my grandfather still requires constant care, and the nurse only comes from 11pm to 7am. I’m not able to keep up with my blogs or my favorite reading blogs, because my Uncle’s computer keeps suffering a FATAL SYNTAX ERROR HAS OCCURRED, WINDOWS IS SHUTING DOWN. I’ll give you a fatal error! I have blogs to write! Thank you to everyone who has emailed their support I would like to reply individually, but I'm lucky to get this silly machine to post to my blog let alone allow me to write emails!

While my frustration with my Uncle’s computer is great, I’m really thankful for this opportunity to spend time with my grandparents and family. I haven’t spend the Christmas holidays with them since The Man and I got married. It’s like stepping back in time, in a good way. Having a child seems to have somehow thrust me into adulthood in their eyes in a way leaving home, going to college, and marrying hadn’t.

Someone once told me that families grow apart and that it was something I needed to accept, this Christmas I disagree with that statement even more strongly then I did when I first heard the words fly across those bitter lips. Spending this time with my Mother’s family has been a great experience, sure they all have their quirks, and there are topics we don’t discuss, and hurts we don’t re-visit, but there is love. Family love. Their response to Mr. Moo is so overwhelming for me, to watch my Grandfather, who sleeps most of the day, play tug of war with the baby or let the baby feed him goldfish crackers, or just looking around at my Mother, Aunt, Uncle, Sister, Grandparents, and Great Aunt and realize we have spent the last three hours watching the baby “work” on Grandpa’s wheel chair, (Look at these HUUUGE wheels Mom!) reminds me of how much families mean to each other.

My Mother and I have had our differences but families are about differences, about working through them and coming out the other side knowing that there is love and support there.

Almost all my life I’m lived over 3,000 miles away from my extended family, but I’ve always felt close to both sides. I credit my family with that success. Both my parents, who flew us back to Pennsylvania/New Jersey to visit with family and Relatives who visited us in Georgia and later Washington State. Even though I’ve been separated by distance I have always felt close to my family in my heart.

As I grow older I am even more thankful for the effort my family put forth in my youth so that I would know where I came from, and would know that people loved me.

The more mature I become the more I realize that families don’t grow apart. Sometimes they are torn apart by hate, racism, prejudice, misunderstanding, or anger, but the don’t grow apart. Not the families I know. In the last year, I have come to realize that it is those who truly love us that can forgive even the most evil of transgressions and can love us for who we are. In the last year I have watched my baby become a centerpiece for bringing a wounded family back together, and this Christmas I am reaping the benefits of my family’s support and love..

With seven days left till Christmas, I realize that I won’t be getting my Christmas Cards out, I probably won’t have a tree, but I will have my family. I will have my Grandfather, who I remember from my childhood as the man who picked me up from school in his milk truck, played circus in the yard with us, who raked big piles of leaves so my siblings and cousin could run shrieking across their yard and jump in them. A man who taught us Solitaire, who started us coin collecting, who took us for Slurpies at the 7/11 who had an affinity for getting money wrapped in boxes at Christmas, who knew everyone IN THE WORLD, whom everyone loved, and who I named my son after.

He never talked about his orphaned childhood, or the many foster families he lived with, my grandmother told me that. She told me how much he loved his two daughters; to the point of being irate with her if they were bumped or bruised when he came home from working his two jobs that he held down to support them. He spent hours, and I mean hours, playing with us as children, he was the first in the family to fly cross country when my sisters were born in the far away state of Washington.

I will be forever grateful to my family for flying Thomas and I out here this week.

And when I fly home, I will be picked up by the Man I love, chose to spend my life with and the father of my child. He’ll take me home to the house we live in (even if it is falling down around our ears) and on Christmas Eve we’ll arrive at his Parent’s beautifully decorated home, for a fabulous dinner that they prepared because they love us, and I will have memories of my son with my Grandfather to share with people who truly care about my son and myself.

I will not accept that families grow apart, sometimes they fall apart, and that is the saddest thing that can happen, but in my experience family is there for you, whether to bake Christmas cookies with you or to fly you to the East Coast so that you can spend time with a beloved Grandfather, they don’t ask for thanks, they don’t make you pay for imagined hurts, and they don’t keep track of what they have done for you.

Families are love. And I’m in love with mine.

That’s right, Christmas Molasses, I’m sappy.

2 comment(s):

  • I don't know what to write but I wanted to respond and say how much this post meant to me, especially since I can't am unable to be there with grandpa. I shouldn't have read this at work though because I am trying really hard not to cry.

    By Blogger Lauren, at 12/17/2004 09:02:00 AM  

  • I'd have to say this is one of the greatest things I have ever read. I'd say more if I wasn't at work trying to hold it together.

    All I can really say is, Thanks, Brit for bringing the baby and writing this.

    It is a Christmas present in and of itself.

    Especially for those of us who know who you are talking about and that every good word ever spoken about him by anyone has been both true and understated.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/22/2004 02:10:00 PM  

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