Christmas is a time for joy, celebration and family. In ways I could not begin to explain to most of you, my Christmas this year is different than any other that has come before it. I am a different person. I am in a different place. Both literally and figuratively.
For off and on since childhood, I have been in a fog. There are a great many good things and a great many bad things that have happened in that time. But the overwhelming characteristic of my personality is that I never took the time to appreciate those moments in my life truly worth appreciating. I kept waiting for something “else” to happen rather than putting in the effort to create a life and enjoy it.
Today, it is my first Christmas Eve in a new country. It is my first Christmas with a family that is so spread apart. Today, I want to show my appreciation, and maybe cast a wish for the Christmas’ future. Like Ebenezer Scrooge, I have awoken to see there is still time to say “joy to the world.” It has not all passed me by. There is still time to sink my teeth into that Christmas goose. I began a new journey in my life. There have been tears, good-byes, and unfortunately, words that have hurt. Thankfully, there have been smiles, hellos, and yes, words that have brought joy.
And in this holiday season, albeit very different from the ones in the past, I will focus on the joy Christmas can bring:
No matter the continent, the time zone, the nation, the side of town, the flat, the room, we will all share a common dream tonight. We will all close our eyes – maybe with visions of sugar-plums, maybe not – with an intense hope and anticipation for wonderful things to greet us in the morning. Whether be it through giving or receiving, joy is the order of the day. I go to sleep tonight believing and knowing all the changes that have occurred over the last year will lead us all to a better place. I go to sleep knowing that I deeply care for family and friends waking up to bright Christmas morning all over the world.
But, to three little girls in particular, I send something more….
Two stockings have made their journeys across the oceans and seaboards, eager to be opened by girls not familiar with the trinkets and treasures contained therein. One stocking remains in England, waiting for its new owner to return home to her mother’s waiting arms. But more than just candies and toys, there is love in those stockings too.
I have sent a father’s love back to America. A love so strong, no matter the time and distance between us, it will never be bent, twisted or tarnished. It will remain steadfast until we find that place to embrace and cuddle once again. The older, more pragmatic of the two, will undoubtedly be sad because Christmas is different for her family. But it is because she cares so much and for so many, I know she will use her gigantic heart to bring joy to whomever gets to be with her. The younger, more whirling dervish of the two, will undoubtedly spill the contents of her stocking all over the floor, demanding someone pick them up her. While quickly stuffing sweets in her mouth before they look up, I know her crystal blue eyes will charm anyone and everyone who gets to be with her. The ever-so-tiny newcomer in my life will undoubtedly dance in a manner that makes her mother blush as she shows the world that life’s celebrations are best when enjoyed to the absolute maximum.
All three girls have allowed me to be part of their lives and fit in where I can. I look forward to the Christmas in the future when all three get to open their stocking as faraway step-sisters brought together for the first time.
When you wake, all my angels, on Christmas Day, remember I will always be with all of you. There will be years when I will watch you experience the joy of the day; there will be others when I eagerly wait for you tell me about your elation. We will talk about the wrapping paper, the turkey, the mince pies, the crackers, the sweets, the snickerdoodles, and the ribbons – all the things that will make your celebrations so special.
But no matter the places we may find ourselves on Christmas, we are a family. We are a family who finds a way – despite all the things that makes us different from others– to love and cherish each other. Merry Christmas, my darling girls. I love you all so, so much.