Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

As a child, i always spent Christmas with my family. At first, it was just me, my Dad and Mum. We had the whole Santa Claus, Christmas Tree and present deal. I believed so much in Santa. So much that i would wait in anticipation at night as i waited for his footsteps to sound as he placed my presents. I guess he was always quiet because i never heard him come. Yet, the presents were always there. As the years flew by, the traditions changed. My obnoxious siblings that i love to death were born. It wasn't about me any longer. The new squad didn't understand the whole Santa deal, and they thwarted the tree... so the way we celebrated had to change. It wasn't just the three of us as i had come to know, but i had to struggle with the four of us (the birth of my brother) and then the five of us (the birth of my sister). I know i had always wanted siblings, and yet, i just never thought of the consequences of having two other beings that were as demanding as I was. It turned into a deal of going to the Village to celebrate with the extended family. It became not Merry Christmas, but Happy Christmas. And, when you said that, they shoved some Naira bills into your little palms... I had discovered a whole new world... GoodBye Santa, Presents and Tree... Hello Money! I reveled in it, i would run into Aunts and Uncles arms and say Happy Christmas, I would say it to cousins, i would say it to my siblings (of course my siblings would never give me!). It wasn't just the money, it then evolved into a whole sense of belonging, co-dependency. I liked the shouts and scoldings from Aunts who would insist you didn't greet them, i loved the fact that i was teased because i couldn't handle the firewood... I loved the fact that no one would order me around because everyone thought i would break in half... i hated it at the time, but inside it was this feeling of family that developed. It was this same feeling that made me begin to wonder at how i would ever become an adult. I would always look in wonder at my older aunts and uncles that would travel alone, or at my parents when they would leave the house without one of us. As children, we were never allowed to go anywhere alone. I always had my siblings on my tail (imagine me at age sixteen when i was supposed to be getting my runs set and my siblings following my tail... i secretly blame them for affecting my teenage life... LOL). I would be so worried seeing people go out alone. I would run through my head the several things that could go wrong with them - they could be stolen, get lost and then i would never see them again. And yet, they always came back. It was so bad that when my mum would be coming back late from school, i would wait for her outside our pharmacy. I always expected to see her around 6 O'clock, and once the time struck and she would be no where in sight, i would sit and wait... my siblings would join me (probably because they just wanted to flock around me) and we would sing while we waited (we definitely looked like a bunch of sad kids). And once we saw her car in sight, we would jump up and run to her... she always had mints or candy (i have an incurable sweet tooth!). I knew they would always come back, and yet, i was just never sure how one would be able to do it alone. How would you travel long distances alone? Wouldn't you be lonely? Wouldn't you be scared? How would you spend holidays alone? Wouldn't you go crazy with want and need of companionship? How could you do that after being in a family like mine where the siblings never left you alone and your parents were always teasing you? How would you survive?
This Christmas, i didn't go home to my family. Its not the first i have spent away from my family, but, it is the first that i have learnt how my parents did it, how my Uncles and Aunts all were able to go out and come back safely. It is the first that i have spent not feeling lonely. They all had their traditions, they built it over time. I learnt that i have to do the same. Build my own traditions. This is the first Christmas i went to Church while away from my family. I never went my Freshman and Sophomore years because i was scared of facing people and their families. I was scared of people asking me where my family was. And so, i just refused to face them. I forgot that people don't get born with families, neither do they die with families (You are born alone, and you die alone). I forgot that being in misery wouldn't be what they would want for me. I forgot that they had shown me so so much love so that I would be able to translate that love for myself whenever i would be on my own or start with my own family. And so with that, I have decided to start my own traditions. Every Christmas hence forth that i don't spend with my family, I vow to be in the midst of people - the wonderful friends that God has provided to be in my life. I vow to get myself a present (something i really want!). I vow to get myself a tree and decorate it (when i get my apartment, not this small college thing they claim to be an apartment!) I vow to be happy and at peace not ruminating on past glories of being with family and friends i can't be with. No condition is permanent. If i spend my present, crying that the now sucks because i remember the past good times, then i will miss out on making beautiful past memories to remind myself of in the not so far away great future. Beautiful days are coming, be it with the people I love or not and I am planning to make them count by God's Grace.
And so i leave you with this - Have a very Merry Christmas, full of cheer and love because the greatest work of Love has already been fulfilled in our lives. Remain blessed in His Name.


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