Even if the present isn’t what I can enjoy or appreciate right now, it is still a gift. More to the point, what I mean to say, is that when my family gets together all these opinions, personalities and differences brew in a big pot until it usually boils over. And because my family of origin is not what you would describe as “functional” more like we would be the family photo beside the definition in Webster’s of “dysfunction” Classic holiday times together include political debate, unintentional feelings being hurt, random acts of cruelty, and occasional drunken fights (in the past, because now the only person drunk is dad so he is alone; fights with himself). The memories, pressed down firm and deep, unload with each spoken word or insult. Dad just doesn’t shut up. His form of communication is yelling, arguing and verbal attack. It’s not fun or healthy for anyone and my own adult self would be better served by staying in a hotel, away from it all.
The beauty of family comes at a cost. That cost is so high. If you can afford to suffer small brutalities, subtle criticisms, and the ever-present frequency of past invading the present you may enjoy the company of your loved ones. If that sounds too expensive, I understand. Oh how I understand. Sometimes I can’t justify the expense. Growing up, so painful. Moving away and making a life resemble something unlike my own wrecked childhood…hard work. Going back to my birthplace and breathing the same air as my siblings and parents, is not easy. The bittersweet taste of past colliding with futures unknown. The present, if you can bear to open your heart and mind, can be so beautifully felt it sends waves of knowing all through the body. I will try and savor my Christmas present.