This has been a difficult end of the year for us financially, yet somehow Christmas pushed through it all. We recently had a leak in the dining room, and we had to get the roof repaired from a defect left by the people who built the house decades ago. Then I had to try and get the dining room wall and ceiling back in presentable shape before my parents and sister arrived on Christmas Eve.
We usually have our big family gathering on Christmas Eve for dinner and the gift exchange. My sister and brother-in-law and their children, and my parents came down. My wife and I had a falling out with my parents a few years ago, and while we had patched things up with my mom, my dad had not yet started speaking directly with us again. You would think that the older would be the wiser, but in this case, that fell to the “younger” generation. I invited my dad to be a part of the family gathering, because I just felt like life is too short, and if he wants to remain aloof, I still want to feel like I did the right thing.
My nine-year-old son said, “I know what grandma can get me! She can bring grandpa for Christmas!”
Also, despite the financial position we are in, things were worse for my sister and my parents. But we wanted everyone to have a good time anyway. So there were a considerable number of factors conspiring to make this a difficult Christmas.
The wall and ceiling repair took me right up until the day before Christmas eve, but it was accomplished! It still needs some touch up work, but it was presentable for our Christmas Eve dinner. My dad came, and he was on his best behavior and did not say anything rude or mean, and he had some special moments connecting with each of my kids. Dinner came together well, and we played some fun family games before everyone had to leave. We also took a family picture.
Despite the paucity of gifts, my kids had a lot of fun on Christmas. I now have a Broncos jersey, which was an awesome gift for me! I spent quite a bit of time cleaning and organizing my home office on Christmas, bringing some much needed organization into my life and writing space. As the day waxed, my two-year-old son wandered into my office, and we did a puzzle together. We heard “boom” as my son said, and he sat in my lap and we watched someone shooting off fireworks in the distance. We accomplished a lot, my wife and I had a great time with our kids and the rest of my family, and we watching fireworks through the window with my two-year-old in my lap was the perfect capstone to an amazing, low-budget Christmas.
Sandy Hook was an absolute tragedy. There is no denying that. Particularly to see such amazing little boys and girls lose their lives before they even had a chance to start them is something that is probably so hard for any of us to quite put into words. I came across a poem recently, and I do not wish to criticize, but I had a reaction to it. It was the Newton children looking down from heaven, and assuring their parents they were doing just fine, better off where they are now, and telling their parents not to worry. I had a reaction because to me, it felt like trying to sweeten up a tragedy. When a little kid spends their last several breaths in absolute horror, and they die before ever even knowing what puberty even is, or what it is like to go to their first dance… I just do not know how such a thing can ever be sweetened.
Twosies Christmas by J. R. Lambert is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
An Open Letter to my Daughter,
…to be opened in fourteen years
First of all, you are amazing.
You live in a society that has not always been kind to women, and remnants of that will still likely be around when you are a young woman. Research that is becoming available to me in this time has found that brains of men and women are structured differently in some regards. It makes sense to me too, as women are biologically constructed to make and nurture their young, and men are built to nurture and protect their young. [Yes, notice I said that it is a natural biological imperative for both moms AND dads to nurture their children.] This is the important part though: always remember that different does not equal better, it just equals different.
There are many different personalty tests that are used in working with businesses, so that people can have an appreciation for how each co-worker is different. One person may be neat and orderly, while another may work in messy chaos. The idea is that neither of them are wrong, they are just different, and when they start from that understanding, it is so much easier for them to work toward a common working relationship that works for both of them. This starts with the recognition that each person is doing their best, and everyone is right; they all just need to find a way to be right together instead of separately.
Men and women are not the same. Men and women will probably always have differences in the way they act and react, but neither is right or wrong. Know that for everything you wish to accomplish, you have just as much right as any man to follow your dreams. Never be with anyone who wants you to believe otherwise.
I will always love you. We will always have a special relationship, I hope that is as true for you now, as it was on the day I wrote this. You deserve to be happy, and to share your life with someone you love. Never settle for misery in a relationship, thinking that you should just deal with whatever your partner throws at you. Remember, you are amazing, and yes, you CAN find better.
Relationships are always hard work. The ditsy girls depicted in the movies who happen upon Mr. Right (or Miss Right) and everything is magical and easy because “it was meant to be” are just as much a fairy tale as Shrek. [If you cannot remember Shrek, then I am sure you can find it on Netflix, if it still exists.] I love a good movie, just as much as the next person, but movies are often mostly fantasy. In real life, relationships are hard work, and I cannot promise that you will find an amazing person that you click with, and that you are so in love with that the relationship is never work. What I can promise you is that if you find the right person, then all of that work is worth it.
It is also good for you to know, on the subject of love, that as an adult, I want you to have a happy and fulfilling sex life. In principle. However, I do like to have a fantasy world that I believe in sometimes, and in my mind, you will always be six, and will never be interested in sex. Please plan your conversations with me accordingly.
You deserve happiness. Choose happiness. Love and compassion for others will get you far in life, and you will have that love and compassion returned to you. Treat others like you want to be treated, and for the most part, they will treat you in kind. Don’t waste your energy on those who do not, because that just puts you in a negative place. You will only have a finite number of thoughts each day, don’t waste them on thoughts that perpetuate misery.
If you are ever made to feel by another person, be it a lover, or a boss, or even me, that you do not deserve to be happy, then know that person is wrong. No one ever deserves misery. Never accept that as your path. Love, and be loved. Live, and follow your dreams toward happiness. Maybe both of us can let a part of you always be six.
- Study: Men’s And Women’s Brains Wired Differently (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Gender equality: why women are still held back (theguardian.com)
AD/HD son telling AD/HD Mom a knock-knock joke:
AD/HD Son: Knock knock
AD/HD Mom: Who’s there?
AD/HD Son: Winnie
AD/HD Mom: Winnie who?
AD/HD Son: Winnie the Pooh
AD/HD Mom: Winnie the Pooh who?
AD/HD Son: Huh?
AD/HD Mom: What?
AD/HD Son: I’m so confused!
AD/HD Mom: Me too!
Yes. I live with this everyday. It is never boring! 🙂