Of course I am thinking of both of my parents today. As children grow into adults, sometimes holidays like Christmas seem more like a burden than a day to enjoy with your loved ones. Buying gifts, making travel arrangements, trying to get through visits without a spat, it’s enough to knock the jolly spirit out of anybody.
And admittedly there were many Christmases where I felt just like that. While I never actually spent a Christmas day with my parents after I turned 19, due to living so far away and school/work commitments, I would try to at least make an annual visit. I would usually choose somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I can’t say I really enjoyed these visits. I do regret never having the chance to just take Dad aside and have some daughter-father bonding moments over a cup of coffee or beer. But then again, Dad was always a benign but forgettable figure in my life at that point. We weren’t close, we never had a deep bond.
Of course, having watched him battle Alzheimer’s for over four years, now I realize all of those years of lost opportunities. Dad never shut me out, but he wasn’t one to pursue a more active father-daughter relationship. I was relieved at the time that I only had Mom’s need for companionship to fulfill.
Holidays at their most basic are good excuses for families to bond together, to share stories and create their own unique traditions. While I can’t go back in time and change things in my own family, I can at least share my story and encourage others to embrace family bonding opportunities. What may seem like a mild inconvenience now may create memories that you will cherish forever.