Gathering family for Christmas is without a doubt one of the most powerful emotional moments you can assemble in such a compressed period of time.
Of course it’s not charged with some of the angst and negativity that comes with a funeral or everyone gathering in your hospital room with the expectation of you passing away. My close ones unfortunately have had to experience the scary hospital scenario this year and have had a few other scary moments that certainly haven’t been pleasant. They are certainly emotionally charged but not in the pleasant way that bringing family together over Christmas brings.
But enough of these moments, I want to talk about the awesomeness of this years Christmas fun.
I consider myself to be the luckiest guy in the world, you’ve heard me say that many times before, but it’s at times like Christmas when everyone comes together for good food, drink and fun and games. This year was yet another one of those spectacular times.
I could easily go into a barrage of moments and detail all the silliness but I’m pretty sure the list would be too long and you would be frightened by the nutbars I call family. Suffice to say we like to take things to extremes and that four brothers may be a bit competitive…which carries on down through the family it seems.
I credit my Mom and Dad with building a family unit that always had family at the forefront. We were always told family was a priority and thankfully all of my brothers have continued this philosophy. The boys try to get together annually for a golf tournament, a tournament that has taken place almost every year for thirty years now. I think we all appreciate that it’s an effort but we always know it is a priority. We are always conscious of the fact that no matter what happens we have each others back. That is a guarantee and this Christmas was yet another example.
While there were many poignant moments, there was one that stood out high above the others. It was actually a moment that stopped me in my tracks and made me cry. Actually it made Tracey cry too, but it was her doing so her tears came naturally.
We had opened a round of presents and everyone was reflecting on their favourite Christmas moments from the past or present. Only one person spoke at a time and the rest listened, well, except the ones that had too many cocktails and were easily distracted, but for the most part everyone was listening. There were funny ones, serious ones and it was great to hear them all, but when it came to Tracey’s she stopped my heart. Then she opened my heart, restarted it and filled it with happiness and such a great positivity to keep moving forward in this cancer journey.
Tracey recounted the moment of pride we had when we were actually able to get a photograph of me in my Santa Claus outfit with the brand new baby BenJimin (Jil and Ryan’s son). BenJimin was finally able to get out of the hospital after a lengthy stay and I was in the midst of surgeries for my pancreatitis. Jil and I had been talking about getting this photo for a while as my beard and hair was silver at the time and we both felt that I wasn’t going to be around to see BenJimin grow up. This photo was going to be part of the legacy so a great photographer friend of mine named Neil Zeller came to the brewery and took the shot for us as a gift.
This photo was giving the platform for Jil and Ryan to tell another family story. The story enabled them to say that he got to meet his Great Uncle Jim and he was your Santa Claus when you were just born. This photo was an emotional moment for me that I will never forget. I was building an important family memory.
Tracey telling this story brought back all these emotions so quickly that it took my breath away. And as she was telling the story I was thinking wow, these two years have gone by fast and I’m so glad we got Santa photos with BenJimin this year so he had two years of stories built up.
But when Tracey said she was so happy that we got that photo done three years ago and that we now have three years of these moments I was gobsmacked.
It’s been three Christmas gatherings. I was only expecting one.
And I thought we had only done two years so far. But it’s been three. I’ve gotten three Santa gigs.
It’s a galldarn Christmas miracle.
And as I sat in the chair with my Santa outfit on while looking at my beautiful bride tell that story I couldn’t help but let the tears roll down my cheek. I left them there as all I wanted to do was stare into her eyes and relish in the love I had for her and for the moments like this that we have shared.
And surprisingly the most positive element that came from this moment was that I again was given a recharge, a burst of energy to keep positive in this arduous journey. Three Santa moments now has to be four Santa moments, it’s just too fun and way too important for so many reasons.
Thank you to my family for being so awesome. Thank you to my lovely wife for always being there for me, for our family and for being such a pillar of strength in this journey.
Thank you to each and every one of you that gives me your time, energy and love. I look forward to sharing moments with you in 2019.
But remember to be good, Santa is watching.
PS Mom and Dad you were sorely missed at this gathering but Dad you would be proud I’ve carried on the Santa tradition and Mom I think I heard you laughing pretty much every day. So in reality you were both there weren’t you.
PPs I’m still your favourite until you say otherwise right??