Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Home for the Holidays

I am not "Home" for the Holidays. Millions are not. Transplants who have relocated for better jobs and possibilities, military overseas, families who have moved to create an idyllic life in the burbs, young adults who have moved to escape, many of us move away from our families of origin and don't make it back.
But we are where we are. In fact, I am HOME. I am at my home of my family of my creation now...and all the heaviness and sadness in my heart from missing my family of origin softens as I consider what home is and what I do have now.

As I roll out the pie dough, I think of my father who would make three, four five pies at, pumpkin, pumpkin with mince meat, grasshopper pie and always the mystery pie which usually involved peanut butter or squash or a combo....he proudly presented the pies, which each had special marks on the crust as a special code to him, and he relished in our guessing incorrectly about the secret ingredients. His delight, generosity and excitement brought a special magic to the holidays every year.
I am not home for his pies this year, but he is with me as I make mine.

As I wrap the presents, the ten, twenty or more little tiny stocking stuffers that my husband thinks is insane to wrap...I think of my mother, up late wrapping and labeling each stocking stuffer, her handwriting always neat and feminine and loving. You could tell it was a special gift just from how she wrote and the little clue she would write on the label " For warm and cozy nights" or "Something pretty". She would wonder at our glee as we struggled to open the tiny presents, luxuriating in the stockings being opened while she sipped her coffee. I am not in her home as I wrap this year, but she is with me in mine.

As I buy a huge 5 foot giraffe for my son 7 year old Ben that he "really really wants", a toy my husband disagrees is useful or practical, I think of my sweet sister. I remember her generosity in giving us a huge present one year, that she saved up for and bought with her own money. She insisted we open it last and was very serious that it was a special gift. It obviously meant a lot to her to give it. When we opened it, I didn't get it at first. It was a big brown ottoman, a thing to rest our feet on. I was maybe nine, I didn't rest my feet. But then I got the thought that she put into it. We all worked hard on our family hospitality business, she cared enough about us to get something we could ALL use, relax with and rest our feet on.

I told my husband it's not whether we agree that this toy will be useful, it's What It Means to HIM. So I smile at the people who smile at me, holding a 5 foot giraffe leaving the mall, and my heart fills with joy when Ben invites my husband and his brothers to hug the giraffe, and they do. He is sharing his gift with the family and his heart if full. Life is magical...and although I am not home with my sister, she is here with all of us.

As I stick a label onto a blank journal that I am creating called " Grandpa's Legacy Journal, 50 Words of Wisdom We Want to Know from You" I think of my brother Tao, an artist who has inspired many years of making gifts. I think of his imagination, freedom and fearlessness he embodies when learning a new form of art or making something to give to someone. He doesn't worry if they like it. He doesn't explain how he wanted it to look and didn't make it that way, he doesn't create anything that you would expect just because it needs to be a certain kind of "pretty". He makes what matters to him. He makes a contribution of the inner workings of his mind, which is beautiful place we can only see if he shares it.

So as I put questions into the journal for Grandpa to fill out and create a legacy for himself through his contribution of wisdom in raising our boys, I think of the boldness my brother has given me. I am proud to be giving a gift I have created with the boys. Sometimes, the greatest gift you can give someone is to allow them to contribute to you. We are asking for that contribution for our boys, to raise them into men of responsibility,creativity and integrity. I may not be home to hug my brother but he is here contributing to the future of my sons and their brothers, here, now.

As we ring in the New Year, with my amazing family of NOW, I am present to my husband who has chosen to create family with me for the rest of our lives. He was not born into my family. He chose me. I choose him. And we make that choice everyday. It is not a "given" that we will be together forever. It's a choice. Just as we chose to be here for the holidays this year, we choose to live here, 3000 miles away from my family of origin. It's all a choice and one I must get continually present to that I choose in the creation of the life that we are choosing here together.
If I wallow in the missing of my family of origin, I loose the power I have to create and be present with my family now. I become a victim of the life I have created.

Instead I choose to honor my family of origin by bringing all that they have given me and make this life with my family exciting, creative and magical now.

Thank you for your gifts Dad, Mom, Tao and Chi. Thank you also for the very amazing gifts that you have chosen, Timothy, Kaia and Amy. They make our family fun, gracious and delightful. I love you all.

Zen LaBossiere Honeycutt

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