I'm sure that many of you have children at home still. I'm sure that many of you have one or more parents still living. Some of you are even lucky enough to have one or more grandparents still living.
I was raised by my grandparents. My father was killed during the Korean Conflict, and my mother was a bookkeeper at a large local business. In those days women that did not work at a restaurant or a factory, were known as career girls. She wore nice clothes, she went out on dates, and we lived with her parents. My grandfather worked at an auto factory, and was a very decent, hard working man. My grandmother was the worlds greatest cook, and had a small catering business on the side.
My grandma was the youngest of 8 children, my grandpa was the youngest of 11. She had 4 kids of her own, including my mother. When I was 5, my mom remarried and had 5 more kids of her own. So without climbing my family tree for you, let it just be said that we brothers, sisters, and cousins were very close and muched loved..... We were poor, but didn't know it....
After my moms 3rd child, I was given the oportunity to move back with my grandparents, if I wanted to. Are you kidding! My own room, my own stuff, my old playmates, I jumped at the chance. In those days there were no nursing homes to speak of, and it seemed that the older people in my grandparents family came to our house to live out their final days..That was OK, we had the room.
Eventually, if you are young enough, you outlive everyone in your family.
Eventually, all your children leave home.
Eventually, your grandkids even leave home.
About two days before Christmas in 1975, I stopped by the house to see my grandparents, and to leave some presents under her tree. When I walked in the front door, she was sitting in the dark, with only the tree lights on. She did not look at me, she did not smile, she did not flinch, she didn't say a word. She just stared straight ahead, as if in a trance. Looking at the lit tree.
No matter how many times a called her name she didn't respond..Jeez I thought she had a stroke..Soon my gramps called me to the kitchen and said "don't talk to her, she's remembering". I said' remembering what'? He said, 'son, it's hard to explain, but some day you'll know'...
My mom is gone, grandma and grandpa are gone. Last year I buried my younger brother. I have a sister I haven't seen in 15 years. My baby brother lives in Virginia. My only daughter who is 20, is studying in Prague and will not be home until May. Last night as I was sitting in my living room with the tree on, I saw my daughters ornament ' Babys 1st Christmas'. Then I saw the stocking that my mom knitted for me when I was in her womb. Then all of the memories of past Christmasses flashed through my head. I sat there as if in a trance, not moving, hardly able to breath, spellbound by the lights....remembering the words of a simple man, 'son, someday you'll know'...30 years later, I knew.....
I think we were rich, and didn't know it.
Merry Christmas...Enjoy Every Minute Of It!!!