All work week we look forward to the weekend. A time for R&R, we all imagine. In reality- it is rarely a time for rest. For the average working women and men it is the time to do the things you could not jam in after work the previous week. This past weekend felt to me more trying then the work week that proceeded it.
I have mentioned post after post that the holidays have my head spinning. We are excited to be working on renovations and decorating in our home. We live a long car ride from our families, so travel is just days away. I am hosting my second NYE party in just 10 days. AND just to ice the cake: having a puppy NEVER seems to get easier (Side bar; Ella ate 3 dozen cookies this weekend. Those delicious EHS cookies Kristina wrote about – all found there way into Ella and out onto our brand new couch this weekend).
I spent the weekend with Michael shopping and spending. I want to make everyone happy by giving great gifts. I want my friends to have a good time by hosting a lush party. I want to enjoy our home and make it feel like OURS with decorations that fit our personalities. I want a lot and we set out to get as much as possible to satisfy those urges in just two days time. I could see the spending extravaganza start stinging in Michael’s chest as the days got longer. Each purchase would add up and translate to another project that will need to be done. Slowly guilt started creeping up my body and it has just sat in my gut for the past few days.
It never seems to fail, every year the holidays have this take over- a way of blocking out reality and sending me on a rocket through LA-LA land. I want and want more and more. Most of what I want is things to entertain and things to give away. I know exactly where I picked up the behavior as well. My late father. My dad (Steve was his name) was an extravagant man. I think extreme might be the best word. Everything was extreme. His love for sports, his love for his children, his desire to want to entertain. He was an actor, an athlete, and an entrepreneur. He was a man on a mission to over come. He came from the wrong side of town in West Virginia. Growing up on pennies he, like many others, walked down the beaten path. Soon drugs would make their introduction, and despite his countless and tireless efforts, they would take credit for his closing act. I will forever resent the fact that the last years became the predominant memories of his life.
Though there is bad and sad stories to account for, there was the man that raised me as well. With out him there is no me, no Jason, Stevana, or Michael (my beautiful siblings who spend their days trying to change the world). With out his bleak days, I would never have adopted the same captivating and obsessive desire to create fun and happiness for others. My dad wanted to give us the world. He did not have the Christmas that all the commercials broadcast. But shiny lights and huge wrapped gifts were something his kids would not miss out on. We did not have a lot of money either- and so he would sacrifice a lot to give a lot. I suppose it was learned, because now it has become my wish as well. If he could not make for it in a material, he would make for it in entertainment. He was known for a good story and a good laugh. He loved making others smile so much that he would take jobs that would allow him to act on stage. My fondest memories are watching him as a solider, or an angel, or even a dancing Christmas tree at Sight and Sound Theater.
My father and I both struggle to find the balance between giving and remembering that if we give more than we have, we soon wont be able to give again. That I believe is where he got weak. When he could not provide as much as he dreamt of, he hurt. His hurt pulled him back in the dark that took him from us.
My dad was not a perfect man. But even after he left, he is still able to send me lessons and reminders. He is reminding me to love the holidays for what they are. Reminding me to love my friends and family because I have them. He’s reminding me that doing so selflessly can not be the same as irresponsibly. I am so lucky. I have so much love in my life. Friends that have been by my side through EVERYTHING. Family that protects each other relentlessly. A man who loves and provides for me- always unconditionally and without judgement. I am so lucky that I have TOO much to do.
So today I reflect. I thank God for the opportunities and for never losing faith in me, even when my faith may waiver. I send a Merry Christmas upward to my Old Man who is whispering love and reminders from far away.
Keep in mind all you have and all you come from. Who you are visiting this season and why it is so exciting when you do so. Look at it as a blessing, and push away the urge to feel holiday stress. Merry Christmas from my family to yours.
Merry Christmas Dad. I love you.