Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Spirit

I love Christmas. Absolutely love it. I go nuts with decorations, I adore wrapping presents, I just love everything about the holiday. Usually because it involves getting gifts and new clothes. Sounds really superficial, right? But I also love it because my entire family is together, my sister is in town, and we all have a blast when together. Same with my husband's family. I'm pretty lucky like that. So, just in time for the holidays, I have an especially heartwarming story to share.

My parents were in Atlanta for my Dad's company holiday party. They came home yesterday. When I called last night to check if they made it home okay, my mom told me about their flight home. She had boarded and a soldier got on to sit next to her. As he sat down, he turned to her and said, "Ma'am, please excuse me if I smell. I got notice four days ago while I was in the desert in Iraq that I got to come home for Christmas. I immediately got in the car, and I've been traveling ever since." My Mom, of course, didn't mind once hearing this. And she said he didn't so much smell like body odor, but more of dust and sand - you could tell he had literally left the middle of the desert.

They went on to talk, and she learned that his final destination was Louisville, just like her, and that he had a 13 year old son. He hadn't seen his son since last Christmas. He told my mom that the boy didn't know he was coming home, it was a surprise. He was led to believe he was going to the airport with his family to pick up another relative. They got off the plane and as he walked into the boy's line of sight, his eyes lit up and he shouted, "Dad!" and ran to him. My mom told me that there couldn't have been a more perfectly timed hug that had ever taken place. They hugged each other so tightly and for so long - my mom said probably about five full minutes. She cried as she told me this, and I cried as I listened. I cried as I repeated the story for my husband, and later my sister. And I'm fairly certain I'll cry if I tell it again.

It made me feel so warm inside. This is what the holidays are about. Family. And we should be all too lucky to have our families here, with us, presently. It's not the case for many. So take a moment this holiday and be thankful for what you have - and I don't mean that shiny new pair of Louboutins (although that is always nice). I mean your family - in whatever sense that may be. Happy holidays!

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