Monday, December 29, 2008

Gifts That Don't Fit Under The Tree

The Holidays always come and go way to fast. The preparation––do we go for full Griswold Family decorations?, can we ALL sit at the same table, who's NOT coming this year?––is overpowering, overwhelming and over before you know.

These last couple of years have taught me more about the Holidays than all my years combined. This time of year used to mean what I call "The Great Human Taffy Pull", in reference to who I spend the Holidays with and where. It happens when you're the product of a divorce. It doesn't get any easier when you get older. It never really goes away. 

This year, I did a lot of looking and listening. My kids––Adam, Ryan, Travis & Kaity––were with Teresa and I, along with our Grand kids, Lucky & Eli. We were also fortunate to have Jen & Joey with us this year. But that meant no Sarah for the first time in at least 10 years. Yes, it was different but it was family, nonetheless. Spending time with those you love––and yes, we all love our families and we all do it in our own dysfunctional way––is what this time of year is really about.

The smiles on the faces of my big kids as they open their gifts, is priceless. The sugar induced running around the house by my little kids brings back countless fond memories and creates new ones. The meal, a wonderful menu of traditional dishes and new explorations, is always flawless. While I did capture most of the day on my Flip cam or digital camera, it's hard to capture the true moment of just being there. After my battles with cancer––and a clean biopsy result just last week from a skin cancer exam––these moments are more special than ever. Somehow, it's too bad that I couldn't have seen this before my cancer.

It was there. I just took it for granted, thinking that we've done this before and we'll do it again, right? We'll open gifts, have a few rounds of adult beverages, eat a big meal, pass out watching the Lakers-Celtics,0,4885439.story and that will be that until next year. Unless next year never comes, as was the possibility when my cancer diagnosis and treatment almost got the best of me. My life today, is a daily gift. A gift that keeps on giving me so many unforgettable twists and turns, for better and for worse. A gift that never will fit under the tree.

Thank God, it never will.

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