I have to admit, in the past I despised all holidays from my earliest memories. All the big family holidays seemed to be a drag after our family disintegrated after I was eight. So Christmas and Thanksgiving usually were not high points.
My last great memory of family gatherings was at my Grandma Browns house when I was eight. It would be the last time we would all be together as a family. Shortly after that time all the drama associated with divorce and dysfunction ruled supreme in our lives.
So the holidays would usually find me trying to escape the good cheer by going to the range and shooting Christmas ornaments (Hey, it was that or the mall, what do you expect?). Up until this past thanksgiving I would usually be a wreck until the day after when the fog of yesteryear was gone and life, as I wanted it, returned.
This year was very different. All of our kids, except one, went home with their families for the holidays. Kinda cool. I have never been in a group home with ONE kid before. Very awesome.
I have had the chance to get lots of one on one time with Rodney (Not his real name) this week. No points to worry about, no school or homework to fuss over and no sibling rivalry. Just my wife, daughter and Rodney.
I really felt bad this kid had no one to go home with or a resource family to take him out for the day. So we decided it would be his day. Whatever and wherever he wanted to eat was up to him. My wife was not really looking forward to cooking a holiday meal given my past behavior of going for a drive while the family gathers for the meal, so we left the choice of restaurant up to Rodney. He chose Ruby Tuesdays, actually he chose McDonalds first but even I have some standards for Thanksgiving.
After we got there I noticed something. Rodney was grinning ear to ear sitting between me and my wife. He got to eat a kids hamburger and drink enough soda to have him teetering on the edge of a diabetic coma. He talked about how this was the most awesome Thanksgiving he ever had. We talked about school and his favorite bands. It truly was the most awesome Thanksgiving ever.
It’s a time to give thanks. Thanks that I’m sitting in a Ruby Tuesday chilling with Rodney and not in Anbar Province dodging mortar rounds. Thanks that I get to be a full time dad to my daughter and not behind the wheel of a semi trying to make a buck. Thankful of a wife that shares the same passion of wanting to make a difference by serving Christ and going where he sends us. And VERY thankful for that same wife that understands what drives me to stay up till 3 am typing a blog that few will probably read.
Rodney has given me a different out look on the holidays. We all have some baggage from the past. But until we begin to understand that all of this holiday stuff is NOT about us, but serving others, we will continue to get the holiday blues.
I am definitely looking very much forward to spending Christmas with Rodney and my family. Hopefully by the grace of God, his caseworker and a break in global warming we will be able to take him to the heart of Yankee territory in Pennsylvania and he can see some snow. It just doesn’t get any sweeter.– Launch