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It’s never to late for a Christmas Story

Yesterday was an altogether good day. Since our family is so spread out, we often don’t get an opportunity to celebrate Christmas on any one given day. Coordinating all of our calendars among so many people and so many traditions means that we simply have to spread it out over a few different days to make certain that we celebrate our traditions with everyone. I don’t think the family really minds all that much, at least, I know that I don’t. It makes it feel like Christmas gets spread out over a season, making it last longer. It’s probably why enjoy the holiday season as much as I do, because it feels like it just keeps right on going. And I love to celebrate things filled with joy.

Yesterday capped our Christmas celebration with Traci’s side of the family bringing us down through the home stretch which led us to her mother Vicki’s house. Generally speaking, we usually convene with this crew sometime closer to Easter, which is a lot of fun having the kids do an egg hunt, followed by the opening of presents. Talk about merging all of your favorite Christian traditions, this one definitely takes the cake. But yesterday was a very fortuitous opportunity presented by the fact that Traci’s Uncle Jim is now retired, and was free much earlier in the year, enabling the date to happen.
So we convened at Vicki’s house with Traci’s brother Jimmy, and waited while the rest of the family filled the room. Vicki is one of four children, and they all began to arrive around the same time. I love those initial greetings where you can give hugs to your family, and see the looks of pure delight creep across everyone’s faces, just as they enter into a warm embrace filled with love. You get a moment to see the change that time has brought, and yet in the same moment, you have the opportunity to pick up right where you left off your last conversation, as if no time has passed at all. It’s a unique moment that brings me great happiness, and it is one that is typically experienced only among the company that you know and love so well.

First through the door was Dave and MeHee’s kids Cooper and Tedrick. They were followed by their parents. Shortly after was the whole gang from San Diego, Jim and Christel and their kids Remington, who was home from college in Colorado, and Sydney who came with her husband of a year Anthony. Later Traci’s uncle Bob and his girlfriend Rosio arrived, and we were all together and enjoying one another’s company. The meal was average, but it mattered little. The children are always delighted with the Macaroni and cheese, the salad, and the Costco sandwiches. It was enough to fill everyone’s tummy’s and make everyone happy.

As the dinner wore on, most of the guys hovered around the television in the kitchen to watch the Seahawks and the Redskins in an opening round playoff football game. The ladies sat around the table chatting about what’s happening in the present and in the past, giggling like crazy as they watched the whole scene. And I stayed primarily in the living room with all of the kids, as we chatted it up and found common points of interest to laugh and regale stories that need not be repeated on this site (you’re welcome Remi). It was simply a joy-filled time.

Presents were exchanged for the children and then desert was served in the form of a birthday cake. Kelli will be turning 14 years of age in our house in just a matter of a week, and she poorly blew out the all the lit candles with approximately 5 or 6 efforts in the matter (I always consider it a poor effort if it takes more than one good breathe for the record). Shortly after, the crowd all dispersed at once, and we were on our way back home. I’m not sure if we’ll get together again for Easter this year or not, but in many ways I truly hope that we do. It’s very easy to find a day of great joy among your family.

After returning home, I had been in touch with Robert earlier in the day about the opportunity of getting together for dinner. We’d seen each other at the White Elephant gift exchange that we do with our friends, but not since. So we met at the Stout Burgers and Beer in Los Angeles for a session of catch-up over a couple of amazing burgers topped off with some bread pudding. And yes, the last part of that sentence deserves the mention, it was THAT good.

Something hit me however midway through the conversation that I struggled with during the night. Remi had made mention of how quiet I’d been throughout the gathering, and Traci continued to ask me if I was alright throughout the late evening. I thought I was doing fine, but it made me wonder, am I actually doing OK? Was I just soaking in and reveling in the joyousness of the family, or was I simply at a loss for words based on the fact that I had little to contribute? The latter question made me internalize the matter and delve into whether or not I’m regressing in social skill based on my experience.

I wonder if my time spent at Best Buy accompanied by a lack of a real hobby is making me somewhat socially altered, to the point where I am simply becoming a less interesting person. My youth was always filled with energy, and stories, and a lot of cheer and joyfulness. I’m now much more of an observer, and I don’t know when that changed exactly. I suppose that it’s something to keep an eye on, and to make certain that while I’m going through this job, and I’m lacking in my experiences since having the gig, I should really make certain that I’m taking the time to find and do the things that make me happiest, so that I don’t lose myself in the mundane. Lest I fall into the trap of becoming mundane myself. I’m not really sure how to accomplish this yet, but I feel that at least identifying the problem gives me something that I know that I can work on.

That’s all for now. I’ll likely post this on my Facebook timeline, as Traci was almost insistent on it. Apparently my posts on the site had become so stale, that when the items are posted on the PablosPlace Facebook Page, they’re no longer appearing on her timeline and she didn’t get to read them. Her suggestion was to post it again on my personal page. I don’t want to bury people in my blog because I’m not really writing for others as much as I’m writing it for myself. I’m not really intending this to be a piece for everyone to read, but more of a journal of sorts that lets me get out my feelings. And if others can derive some sentiment of joy from it, I’m happy about that. But I don’t really feel the need any longer to be measured here by the number of hits I get on a specific article, or how many “Likes” my Facebook page has. I measure myself on different criteria. I’m happy for the readers that I have, and always happy when it motivates someone to the point of leaving a comment or a “Like,” but that’s not the reason that I’m writing. I think there’s a big difference there.

Tomorrow I plan on writing again, but this time about potential vacation destinations. I still have some work to do there, which is why it didn’t make it onto this blog.

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