Yesterday was Christmas and while I’ve had plenty of them, this one was different in that it was beautifully mellow with a pinch of emptiness. I got to spend the day hanging with my wife and our dogs, opening presents, downing champagne, and eating strawberries while watching a plethora of cheesy television. It was also the first Christmas I’ve spent in a while without snow, and more significantly, the first Christmas I’ve spent with both of my parents now gone. My parents loved the holidays and instilled in my brother and me early on the importance of giving to others rather than receiving, especially this time of year. While it was a bittersweet day, it was impossible not to reflect on the influence of family and how much mine has and will continue to mean to me.
Like everyone, my family is beautiful, complicated, opinionated, and strong. We fight (literally), we love but more than anything, we have each other’s back. I was lucky enough to have a brother, cousins, aunts, and uncles that I still got to see and mingle with over the weekend (both in person and zoom). While a lot of the conversation was poignant in that we chatted a great deal about my parents, it was still calming knowing that others were feeling the same way that I was. It wasn’t all melancholy, as we laughed plenty, sipped strongly, and hugged even longer than normal. That’s the only way we know how to do things, especially during the holiday season, and it was greatly appreciated.
I was also happy to chat with my “chosen family” both near and far and old and new. Some called just to check in, some called to talk football, but even more simply sent messages and well wishes. From a group chat with friends from my overseas school days to college buddies, former coworkers, and even those I’ve coached with over the years, it was good to not only connect but reconnect and laugh. I also had the good fortune of getting to spend time with my wife’s family, who not only treat me as one of their own but simply accept me for who I am. I value my “chosen family” just as much as I do my blood relatives, as both hold a significant hand in who I am today and who I strive to be tomorrow.
That said, while I’m indeed a work in progress, I have been incredibly blessed with those that I have around me. While I am guilty of focusing on the negative every now and then, especially when life gets a bit complicated, I do indeed have a lot to be thankful for. I’ve failed at times both professionally and personally, but I can say without a doubt that I hit the jackpot when it comes to surrounding myself with quality people. I still have a lot to improve on, growth to make, and consistency to practice, but all in all, I’m doing well in the life department.
Here’s hoping your holidays have been full of family time, happiness, love, and perspective.