Thursday, December 24, 2015

Where You find Joy

Welp, it's showtime folks.

Are you all done? Are the gifts wrapped? The bows tied? Is the food bought? How about the beer? Ahh, the beer. Sweet, beautiful, tasty, holiday-enhancing beer.
Here's hoping the letter found its
way to the big guy. 

Funny how, as you age, the things that you gravitate toward this time of year change so profoundly.

When you're a kid what you're anticipating most about Christmas changes moment to moment. But that shift is almost invariably from one tangible item to another. Kids look forward to unwrapping gifts. And who can blame them? It's a blast.

Watching the wrapping paper fly is one of life's true joys.

Master Blackwell will be getting a few gifts to unwrap this year. (Spoiler alert, son.) Off the top of my head I can remember that he's getting:  hockey skates, an etch-a-sketch, a one-pound Snickers bar (my idea, not his mom's), a little kids kitchen set, a play trumpet, books, some more books and some clothes. And who the hell knows how much his grandparents have got him but the box truck pulling into my driveway as I left for work this morning has me worried.

We try to be reasonable with the amount of gifts for the kids but, between my parents and Mrs. Blackwell's folks, reason is as tough to locate as Santa. But, that's what grandparents love to do. As best as I can tell, it gives my parents and Mrs. Blackwell's folks no greater joy than to shower their grandkids with gifts (and affection).

And, while Master Blackwell the Second is but six weeks old and unable to comprehend what a gift is much less be capable of unwrapping one, he too will get far more than he needs from his grandparents.

The little guy is dreaming of pacifiers and clean diapers.
That's where they're at. While their grandkids are staring at the gifts under the tree, the grandparents are staring at the kids. And, like my folks and Mrs. Blackwell's parents, I am more frequently finding my eyes fixed on my kids as life unfolds before them. Christmas is the distillation of this progression.

Which brings me to, well, me.

If I'm being completely candid, I still think about what there is for me under the tree and there is still very much a spark of childish anticipation.

And while I still enjoy getting real, tangible gifts (see the aforementioned reference to beer) more often than not, I now find myself most eagerly anticipating the time that opens up around the holidays.

Time away from work. Time with family. Time with friends and time with my wife. Maybe time to write more than one blog in a week? (That'd be nice.)

The most frustrating moments I have in life are when I feel my time is being wasted. It's made me impatient and, often frustrated. I'm getting better but as anyone who knows me even remotely can attest, patience isn't one of my foremost virtues.

With that in mind, I suppose this time of year was made for someone who shares this character flaw. When you take days off from work simultaneously with most everyone you hold near and dear — and you make time for one another — it doesn't matter what you're doing because not one moment is wasted.

Just hearing the voices of friends and family laughing is enough to lower my blood pressure.

So, no matter if you're a parent or not. A grandparent or not. No matter where you are or what you're celebrating, here's hoping that this time of year affords you similar joys.

May your time be plentiful.

May your blood pressure be low.

May the people to whom you regularly give your heart know great joy and may that joy find you in kind.

May we all find some peace and give ourselves a moment to reflect, savor and share it.

Merry Christmas everyone.

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