“He’s like a carnival barker!” I shouted to my sister over my Dad’s booming voice.
“I don’t think he’s dropped a decibel since he started!” she shouted back across the living room.
“PARKER, THIS ONE’S FOR YOU — NOW, IS EVERYBODY PAYING ATTENTION???? HEY MARIE, COME IN HERE, PARKER’S ABOUT TO OPEN A PRESENT. TYLER ARE YOU WATCHING??? ARE YOU WATCHING????” my Dad said.
During the first year or two since we started hosting Christmas at my house, I was tasked with giving out the presents. But quickly upon my first taste as Gulliver being attacked by Lilliputians, I rejected the job. (As a side note, I’ve also rejected the “photographer of record role” — too much pressure.)
I looked around for a replacement as gift distributor-in-chief and quickly settled on my father. I mean, he had everything needed for the role — he can bring that booming voice to bear, he’s got lots of energy (until he falls asleep on the couch) and he revels in his role as Grandpa. Being the good natured sport that he is, it’s worked out very well (for me, at least).
“DAVID! THIS ONE’S FOR YOU — SCISSORS, SOMEBODY GIVE ME SOME SCISSORS!!” he said, helping my sister’s son get to his new toy.
With this, I put a hand across my forehead, massaging each temple in mock headache pain. As my sister and I kept exchanging looks at Dad’s expense, I thought about how lucky we are to have him. I mean, the man really should have passed away after ruptured aneurysm in 2007 so, as far as I can figure, we’re going on eight-plus years of extra time, time during which my two children were born.
And so in the midst of Christmas I had a sad thought — what is this place going to be like when the loud voice is gone, when the noise stops? Interestingly, my father-in-law is very much like my Dad — two loud and happy Italians who love to talk, and argue good naturedly — at what seems to be the top of their lungs while the rest of us soak up the entertainment. But what happens when the lives of the party aren’t at the party anymore? Doesn’t sound like much of a party to me.
Now, the point here is not to be depressed about things that haven’t happened, but it’s also true that envisioning being without something helps us appreciate its presence. If pondering a world without something helps us enjoy it, I think that’s only a good thing.
If you reflect back, I’m sure you had some similar moments this holiday season. It’s worth the time and trouble to take them in again, to preserve them in your mind as long as you can. With all our overscheduling — life seems to be moving by at such a lighting pace these days — you have to snatch precious moments whenever they happen.
And now that you’re back to work, know that the work acquaintances who turn into real friendships are also to be cherished, nurtured and appreciated.
Ironically, sometimes it’s the folks you rib who you’ll miss the most. The folks that bring life to the party, who light up the room, and who don’t mind someone giving them a hard time about it. I mean, after all, what’s a carnival without a good barker.