The run-up to Christmas is my most favourite time of the year and I try to savour every moment of it before it’s gone. Still, no matter how much I try to take in each and every second of the month of December, it still ends up flying by in the blink of an eye.
This Christmas was no exception. It sped by quicker than a horde of hungry tourists at a hotel breakfast buffet. By the morning of Christmas Day I was already lamenting the fact that the holidays were almost completely over for another year. Why is it that the cold, bleak months of January and February seem to last ages around here and December just seems to flash in and out for a millisecond?
We spent Christmas Eve with my Dad’s side of the family (i.e. the funny side) and Christmas Day with my Mom’s side (i.e. the practical, responsible side). It was a lovely time spent giving polar bear hugs to aunts, uncles and cousins I hadn’t seen in a couple months, eating together at a massive table built for fifty, opening gifts and cards that made us cry out with both joy and apprehension in equal measures, and generally just spending time with those we love and cherish above all others.
For me, the best part of the holidays is getting to spoil my nephews and I absolutely love to see and hear their reactions to the gifts I got them. I swear I’ll never get tired of being on the receiving end of their exuberant hugs and kisses when they’ve opened up packages I’ve bought them containing things they had both added to their Christmas wish lists weeks and weeks ago in the hopes of finally getting them come Christmas morning.
A Love Letter (of sorts)
Sometimes we’re completely taken by surprise, too, and those are in fact the best times to be had around the holidays. This year my surviving grandparents (my maternal Nonno and Nonna) surprised me – and me alone – with a special package that I was told to keep secret from everyone else in my family. I think the only other people who knew about it were my parents and they never said a word to me about it until the afternoon of December 25th.
I won’t reveal what was in this package, but what I will say is this: its contents made me feel incredibly loved, cherished, special, and eternally thankful to have both my maternal grandparents still in my life. Look, they’re both in their mid- to late-eighties, so I realize they probably won’t be around for very much longer (morbid, I know). All I can do is show them how much they mean to me and how much I truly love and appreciate them in the little time they’ve got left. Though there’s a bit of a language barrier between us, I still make it a point to call them at least once a week to see how they’re doing and what they’ve been up to. That’s the very least I can do.
Growing up, my maternal grandparents were the hardest on me. They were strict disciplinarians who didn’t tolerate childish mischief or rudeness. They insisted on having well-behaved grandchildren who helped out around the house and especially in the kitchen when they hosted big holiday lunches and dinners (they always hosted Easter and Christmas Day). To be honest, I was always afraid of my grandfather the most. He had a temper and very little patience for ignorance. He had massive hands that stung when he spanked us and I always dreaded making him angry.
Fast-forward a couple decades and I can honestly say that I’m grateful for everything my Nonno and Nonna taught me – I’m even grateful for the spankings and beatings they gave me. Yes, they were incredibly strict and didn’t suffer fools gladly, but they ultimately taught me respect, fortitude, strength, and cemented my values and morals. I love them as much as I love my actual parents (and that’s a whole lot, I can assure you), and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of them. So, I’m committed to making the most of having them both here with me and I will do anything and everything I can to still make them proud of me every single day.
I hope you all had an incredible holiday season. I wish you all the best in 2019 – Happy New Year! xo