My First Christmas

And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.     Khalil Gibran.

 

When Mother died it took a decade to free myself of her grip. Father died a couple of years later. He remarried at 84 and blew the family fortune before losing his memory at 87. That was 36 years ago. Sometime last year I began finally to mourn. I had never been able to fully comprehend the wrenching feeling of separation that comes to me now at night as I ponder the events of the day and then of my life before dozing off with a “Thank You” on my lips and in my heart.

Mother exhibited brief moments of meanness during my childhood. The rest of her time with me was a selfless quest to teach me the basic fundamentals of a well-rounded social, spiritual life supplanting in me the entrepreneurial and artistic motivations and the tools  with which  I have come to  identify myself, today . All this and it took nearly four decades to heal from the wounds of Mommy Dearest’s closeted tendency towards occasional violence.

And Father? Horace Dixie Broom? I worshipped that man. Though the word Love was apparently not in his vocabulary, the very essence of his being was a demonstration of his possession of this wonderful Gift. He lived Love. Tolerance? I doubt it ever occurred to him. His ability to accept life on its own terms without thought was so natural to him that tolerance and forgiveness were apparently not necessary. Mother was mean to Father. It never bothered him. Yet this very gift of graciousness was enough to prevent me from properly mourning this man. He protected me from everything dangerous in life; everything except Mother.

And now I miss them. Perhaps it was because through their desire to teach me independence that it took me so long to realize what I was missing after they died. I miss them now; I love them. I am grateful that they were there to set me free when my birth parents disappeared from my life. I live alone now. I have no Christmas tree, no Nativity scene.

But, on Christmas morning I know from experience that I will look at the one vacant corner in my living room and see my first Christmas with my new parents. There will be a Nativity scene. There will be the Christmas tree. There will be the Christmas Hymns playing on the record player. And the presents from cousins I had never met. And the smiles on Mother and Father’s faces as I opened presents, first for Baby Brother Bill and then for myself.

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