Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Tree Thoughts

A family Christmas tree set up anew each year. White lights, pine smell, brings life to the room. 

Decorations speak of the family living here. Interests, hobbies, and life events are recorded amongst the limbs. 

A wedding from seeming so long ago. Young faces, beautiful cake. 25 years later, so much and so fast. 

A boy is evidenced. A train, comic characters, all declare a little boy. Absence of later years speak of absence more far-reaching. Grown up and living far away. He's here this year. Fondness touches that which he used to cherish. 

A little girl in girlish charm is seen all around. Cats and angels, snowflakes and dolls. Christmas is her favorite time. A young woman now puts up these charms in sentimental care. Holding to what she knows, keeping them in her sight. The future stands with open arms, yet she looks back with heavy heart. 

A trumpet, a cross, kindergarten crafts, beautiful gifts and treasures hang amongst the needles. As if to soften their likely prick. 

What is this Christmas tree we always take pains to search for, cut down and drag home? Set up. Is it straight? Untangle the lights and perhaps buy new. Search for the blown out bulb. Keep the water supplied. Is it just a tradition? Some would say so. 

For the once little girl it is very special. Memories of carefree days. Family together, sharing memories, making new. The years are now becoming different, the worries different than what they once were. Next year perhaps there will be an ornament to remember this year. Put up with tender thought. What will it tell of and where will we be?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Family

I belong to a small family. I have one older brother. I have one uncle. I have no first cousins. I have a bunch of great aunts but I never see them. And there is more extended family out there but again, I never see them. However, I am so blessed with the closeness of my immediate family.

If I were to describe my father the first word which pops in to my head is faithful. My dad is a faithful man in everything which he does. He is calm and he is responsible. My dad is a man of a routine. He is like clockwork. One of the ways which this routine has affected me is seeing the consistency of his spiritual life. The first thing he does when he gets out of bed every morning is kneel to pray. After he does his lesson, he kneels to pray. Whenever he visits the church during the week, before he leaves, he goes in to the sanctuary to kneel and pray. I cannot express what an impression that made to me as I was growing up. My dad is a consistent man. I have never seen him angry. He is calm and rational. He is a peace-maker. And he also has a very unique sense of humor. I get my even-keel temperament from my dad.

My mother is a loving woman. She is one of my best friends. We can talk for hours. She and my interests are much alike. We love history, stories, and studying people. The frustrations I have had in college, she had when she was my age as well. She is close to her parents and is sentimental. She loves to read and would prefer this with a cat on her lap. I share that opinion. My mother wants the best for me and she has absolute faith in my abilities. That faith in me has been a motivator at key points in my life.

I absolutely love my brother. Growing up he was my defender and my protector. As we hit the teenage years we became much more expressive of our care toward each other. My brother knows me in a way which no other person on this earth knows me. I find it awesome that usually the longest human relationship one has during their lives is usually a sibling. I will be very content if my brother and I get to share that experience. My brother is an eccentric individual. He is the most open-minded person I know. He is accepting and tolerant. And man, he is smart. He graduated from college Summa Cum Laude. He would make a good diplomat and who knows, he may be that someday. One of my grandma's favorite stories of my brother and I when we were little goes like this: My brother was probably 5 or so and was sitting on the step of their house. I would have been about 3. Apparently we had some sort of disagreement and I went over to my brother and said something along these lines, "Roger, you know I love. I'm going to marry you some day!"

My mother's parents are part of my being. I've lived down the road from them my whole life. Being home includes being with them. My grandmother is the most beautiful woman I know. I love her positive outlook on life and her ability to laugh at problems. She is strong: physically and mentally. I have spent many hours sitting and talking to her. It pains me to see her and my grandfather getting older. Growing up their home was filled with delight and warmth. And food. She is the most amazing cook I have ever known. My grandfather spoiled my brother and I tremendously when we were small. He is one of the most ingenuous people I have ever met. They both love animals and nature. Again, it makes me very sad to see the effects of age on their abilities. I have often wished I could go back in time and see them at my age. Part of my love of history comes from the love of wanting to see what life was experienced during the time of my older relatives.

My father's mother is a character. She has been a widow for at least 30 years. Trips to her house were always filled with food, shopping, and enjoyment. She loves baseball and used to golf. My father and her have a Yankees- Red Sox rivalry which is highly amusing. She, like my father, is a consistent, faithful individual. She has looked after my uncle who has mental problems for over 40 years. She is tremendously generous. I think she would do anything for us if she could. She is so proud of my brother and I.

I was thinking about my family today. It seems that we are much more quick to be angry, short, rude and resentful towards members of our family than anyone else. Why this is, I'm not sure. Probably because we figure that they have to love us. However, our families have created us to be who we are. They sustain us. They are our support. Therefore I wanted to write this blog about the good qualities of my close family. I don't want to immediately think of what irritates me when I think of any of them- I want to first think of what wonderful people they are and how much they have done for me. They have given me everything. If I can remember that, then everything else will fall in to perspective.

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