We are so glad you are here. My strong arms grab you in a full embrace as soon as you step through the front door. Every time I see you, my love grows stronger. Here comes your super tall, skinny, goofy dad with an even bigger hug. But wait for it, around the corner comes running your rascally Kindergarten brother, who jumps on your back, followed by your 2-year-old sister, who latches on to your leg. Is this enough love yet? Watch out. More is coming your way, buddy.
Our home is small but full of good energy around the holiday season. All about the house I’ve strung pine branches that fell from a windstorm. In our cozy living room the scents of our fresh tree, garland, and pumpkin candle are ever-present. Even better is what awaits you in the kitchen. Your ol’ ma expresses a lot of love through her baking and cooking. I’ve made iced cinnamon tea-rings, kolaches, dozens of cookies, spiced nuts. The smell of Wassail fills the steamy kitchen: orange, clove and cinnamon. After you grab a warm cup and a few cookies, we sit down on our leather couch with the pellet stove burning in front of us. Your little siblings try to steal your cookies, but I’ve already thought ahead and brought the whole dang tin in to share. It’s the holidays, no such thing as spoiling your appetite. (For Christmas Eve, I’ve made Aunt Verna’s tortilla soup recipe, I’m sure you’ll make room for it.)
Holidays around here have been a combination of old and new traditions. I hope one day you can start some new traditions of your own. Morning walks, board games, a holiday movie like The Christmas Story. On Christmas Eve, each one of us gets to pick one gift from under the tree to open. The most important tradition is making sure we’ve caught up with each other by the end of our holiday break. I love you, honey, and want to know who you are, what your dreams and passions are, who your friends are, what blogs or funny youtube videos you like. Let’s talk politics in a safe and respectful way. You know your mama isn’t perfect, but I have always strived to show you respect so I could earn yours in return. I will always have an ear to listen and a heart to love you unconditionally. I won’t forget what you tell me about yourself, in fact I’ll follow up on things and try my best to stay updated on your life as it changes day to day. I try so hard to honor and listen because I’ve never had that kind of respect from my parents. In fact, I’ve known many people over the years who don’t honor, don’t listen because they’re afraid of what they don’t care to understand. So, I know, honey, what it’s like to be on the outside. To feel disrespected, ignored, lonely, humiliated, hopeless, grief-stricken and severely depressed. I want to tell you something my parents neglected to tell me. It’s so simple, but here goes: It is not the end. This is not your last page, but your first every day. It can suck around this time of the year, I know. But all this pressure to perform at acceptable levels of happiness or perfection isn’t expected here in this home. Let’s just sit and be together. I will tell you again and again – every day gets easier and if it doesn’t seem that way, I will hold you until it does.