I know this will sound cheeseball to some, so please feel free to skip to the end and have an awesome holiday! So… I thought about writing this up a few weeks back and for some reason, I put the thought away since that post was more of a ‘wish list,’ but not the kind you might think of, but more of a ‘what i want from life within the next year.’ I’m still going to do that post, but instead, I’m making it a New Year post. So, in this post, I wanted to discuss what Christmas means to me, a 46-year-old single man who has lived about 660 miles from ‘home’ in Dallas. I don’t have any kids, either so it’s just me and the pets, and it’s been that way since March 2019 when me and my ex-Brian broke up. I also lost my uncle John, cousin Darin, my grandmother Ruth and my dad Tom, and my friends Bobby and ex Alex over the past 5 years, so it’s been a hellish but revitalizing decade. I also had many great things that have happened, such as deciding to move to NM about 10 years ago (which changed my life) and getting back into school – now I’m in grad school and have the most amazing job ever. I’ll explain that more in my New Year’s post.
So, when I thought about writing ‘what Christmas means to me,’ I couldn’t help but give you a framework from where I’m coming from (my ‘worldview,’ as one might say) so you can understand my thinking. After the good and bad things that have happened, the most important meaning of Christmas to me is one word: family. After losing so many in our family over the past few years… sure, my family is a little on the fragmented side – that includes both first and second cousins, aunts, uncles, you name it… they are probably not on regular speaking terms with us anymore. That’s what happens when you lose people in your family who are the ‘glue’ that hold families together. In my own family, those people were Mamaw Bea on my dad’s side (his mother, my grandmother, who died in 1983) and my mom’s mother, Ruth, who passed away on Thanksgiving 2018, about 7 months before Dad left us, too.) My uncle John also held the family together on Dads side, and he left us, too. (They are all still with us in spirit though, thankfully!) They were the 4 people who held our family together, and there’s many reasons why, but the most obvious one is: they all cherished family and loved their families to bits, infused their love of family on others and the world, and unfortunately, some in our family drifted apart and the rest followed, more or less. I do see some on both sides of the family semi-regularly, but since those figureheads passed, and Covid happened, it just hasn’t been same.
However, I am happy that my ‘family of origin,’ (meaning my mom and 3 sisters) are as close as we possibly can be, and every holiday, I always travel to Dallas to see my mom, sister and nephew Damian, and every other year I tend to travel out to California to see my big sister Nickie and her family, who live in Southern California (SoCal). I’m actually in Dallas now visiting family for a week as I write this; I got here Thursday morning at 7:30 am and it’s 1:22 pm on Christmas eve now. My sis is throwing a party for family and friends and while we don’t expect many to come (add Covid into the mix of things that are reasons why they can’t, and we get it) I know it’s going to be a fantastic time, and it truly does enforce what Christmas means to me… family. And then some.
As I sit here and write this in Dallas, I can reflect upon my family and I know in my heart that they love me and would die for me, and the feelings mutual. I’m so very proud of my younger sister Kris, who is a single mother and is ‘kicking butt, taking names,’ as dad would say, with raising her son and living with mom (they moved in together when dad passed in 2019), and is such a great provider, supporter, lover of life and all colors of the rainbow (I don’t take responsibility for that, since I helped raise her, she’s just that kickass and awesome on her own!) My big sis in Cali, Nicole, is also kicking butt at her job, being the best mother, anyone could be, and is enjoying her beach life with her husband Scott and his family. I’m so very proud of Nic, too, and our big big sister Dineen in Arkansas… she is also a single mother now of three boys and has been a great mom. We don’t see Dineen as much, but we miss her constantly. We hope to get to see her soon, as i miss her infectious laughter and her smoke breaks with me here and there; we’re more alike than we realize! I’m so glad we reconnected a few years ago. She’s a blessing. Lastly, but not least, I’m proud of my mom Janette, for moving on with life after dad passed two years ago – as best she could, of course. I always want more and more for her, but she’s happy now, and content with life, living with my little sis Kris and her son in Dallas. She’s the best mom a boy could have, always did whatever she could to protect us and help us, and she’s truly a saint for putting up with dad for nearly 50 years. (We often say in our family, mom needs to be sainted or asked for by the pope… lol! She’s truly a godsend!)
Family is so, so important. Family is the glue that held me together when Dad passed, when I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Oct 2019, and the family who held me together while I had that tumor operation back in 1991. I’m extremely thankful for the love, kindness, forgiveness, and cherished defending my family has shown me since I was brought onto this Earth. As much crap as my poems or stories may exude about my family from time to time, I truly am thankful to be part of this family and I feel honored to be one of the only men in the family, able to carry on Dad’s spirit in various ways. Of course, I can be selfish, loud, ignorant, stubborn… Haha. Who can’t? But I can also be loving, empathetic, sympathetic, introspective, self-aware, and I owe many of those qualities to my family, who helped make me this person I am today, who wants to help kids and LGBTQIA persons with counseling, and that is my future goal: to become a licensed mental health counselor to help others in need like myself.
I never would have wanted to help others, for sure, if it weren’t for family.
That’s why, this year, I’m thankful for family. I know I’m lucky to have such a great, close-knit family. I can tell you this… if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here today.
Hold those you love close this holiday season and let them know you love them. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Say it today, too.
All the best,
Photograph was taken by me, yesterday, 12.23.01, of me, sis Kris and Damian.