I swear, that commercial gets me weepy every single time for two reasons. I had two brothers. One named, Belton, whom has passed and one named Paul. I adored my brother Paul because he adored me! My sister, whom was 17 when I was born was also very doting and Nurturing and I loved her like a mom and still do. But my brother Paul, was And is my hero! When I was born, he was 13. When I was maybe a week old, my brother wanted to, I guess, parade me around the neighborhood so he put a pillow in his bike basket and belted me into the basket and rode me around. Our neighborhood was called Crabtree heights in raleigh, and the bicycling proud Paul wAs quickly turned in amidst many panicked neighbors calling my parents.
Paul was that brother that would carry me around places, throw me up in the air causing many giggles. He teased me all the time and I loved it. He was a terrific football player at broughton high school, and I remember cheering him on in the stands although I was only 3 or 4, I vividly remember the pride I felt. When he began dating, he would bring me along to his girlfriends home, whom at that time was the head majorette for broughton. She would let me try on her majorette white boots with the big Pom Pom on them and twirl her baton! Then Paul would take me for an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen. It really doesn’t get any better that batons annnnnd ice cream.
When Paul, left home and would come home for Christmas, I would look so forward to it, and build it up in my mind that we would play, games etc, but the reality was he had friends to go see and parties to attend and I would see him occasionally on his Christmas visit.
Fast forward many years later to now when, my son is 27 and home on Christmas. For 4 years he was only able to come home for a quick visit in that he worked for a grocery store chain and was assistant manager and then manager and obviously did not get any time off except for Christmas Day. My daughter and her husband live right down the street with my grandkids and I see them quite frequently, but my son is 3 hours away.
I used to get quite perturbed when my kids were home from college and they would take off and want to spend their time with friends and zooming out the door for parties. I actually over the years have learned to lower my expectations of family events and family time together and to realize that life is not a one minute commercial! I’m so fortunate that I have family close by and that my brother, sister and nieces and nephews can gather. I’m so fortunate that my kids had and have friends that love seeing them as much as I do. We all have tooo high of hopes and expectations that family time will be coffee commercial worthy and that christmases will be perfect and that’s not always the case. I’ve learned to be thankful for the little moments. My parents have been gone for many years. I used to cry every Christmas morning from missing my mom. I used to feel that Christmas could not be enjoyed without her but over the years it was important to me as a mom to build memories for my kids.
As for my brother Paul, today, Christmas Eve, is his birthday! On Christmas Day 68 years ago, the front page of the newspaper read, Stork beats Santa to the Hospital, in that I believe, the police escorted my dads car as he was speeding to Duke hospital with my mom about to give birth minutes before Christmas Day. My brother reads my blog all the time and commented a couple weeks ago that I was his bright star in his life after reading my blog about walking blindly in the forest. He can still make my Day!
My advice to everyone for an enjoyable holiday is to lower your expectations. Life is not a hallmark movie. Thank the Lord. Those movies are so gaggy sweet.. ugh. Marvel in the little moments. Be thankful that you raised children that are social and children that love being home and let the dirty dishes sit a while , let the wrapping paper liter the floor awhile. It’s ok if the rolls burn. It’s the funny, quirky things that make the best memories.
The memory that my mom wanted to strangle brother Paul for was when he was small, he decided to put real candles in the windows. Unfortunately he did so in our large picture window, lit the candles and set the curtains on fire causing fire department etc to bring screaming sirens….
Another memory was the fact that a week before Christmas, I was 7, Paul had promised me that he would get a Christmas tree in the woods. He and his friends went out that evening and had a few too many. Just before returning home he remembered the Christmas tree. He and his friend climbed up and cut the top off of a twiggy pitiful pine tree. I awoke the next morning ran downstairs to find the most pitiful Charlie Brown Christmas tree ever. I burst into tears and couldn’t believe that the leaning, twiggy pitiful excuse for a Christmas tree was to be my tree that year. My dad then took me to pick out a tree from a tree lot. I never let me brother live that one down even to this day. I love you Paul Henry.