Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Spirit

As Christmas draws near, I find myself more taken by the spirit of Christmas this year than I have been in many years. It's been quite some time since I actually felt Christmassy (is that even a word?) at Christmas time, and it's a good feeling to have again.

I left home at eighteen and served eight years in the Active Duty Army. Eight years away from home every Christmas sure felt like a long time. Care packages sent from my Mother and Grandmother helped to make it Christmas for me.

Upon returning home from the Army twelve years ago, I started a career in Retail Management because it was convenient at the time. A major electronics retailer had offered me a position six months earlier during a military-sponsored job fair in Wurzburg, Germany, on the understanding that I would begin upon separation from the Army. During twelve years in Retail Management I have grown accustomed to working extra hours and longer days during the peak shopping season from Thanksgiving to Christmas. This has often meant less time spent with family.

This isn't the first Christmas since my Mother passed away. But it's something I'll never get used to. Mom was the magnetic force that kept the family together. As a family -- and probably individually, as well -- we have not been the same since she left us. I often personally chastise myself for all the time I wasted away from my family during the holidays, forgetting (as it is so easy to do) that we are all only here for a short while.

My Mother is no longer with us. She has received the Ultimate Reward. And my family rarely gets together under one roof all at the same time. But I have a new family now. I have a beautiful wife and two wonderful children. I can't give them everything for Christmas, but I can give them something that has come to mean everything to me: Time. It's what Mom would want.


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