Thursday, December 25, 2008

What I Got For Christmas..

It feels like it has been forever, but a grownup Christmas wish has finally come true this year.

You see, for some people Christmas means it is time to find the perfect gift for that special someone. For others, it means going to mall after mall, store after store, etc. etc. to give it your all (and in some cases give UP your all only to be reminded later) to buy stuff for loved ones. Then there are those who simply wants people to be together and not to be alone for Christmas. Let me be clear: gift giving, as long as it is not taken to a great extreme, is ok. There are many different reasons for this season, no matter what any given organized religion, economic institution, or government institution dictates it to be..

Take the gift of reevaluation:

Recently, President-elect Obama picked an ultra religious conservative pastor to kick off his inauguration ceremony. At first I thought, "Whatever. I don't know anything about that man, I'll wait and see what this means." As the media and gay leaders began to give energy to this, I began to get angry at him and this latest pick. In the context of few (if any?) nominations of openly gay people to his administration, it just did not look good. At all. How in the world could Obama bring such visibility to such an anti-gay person? What about those campaign promises to Americans with different sexual orientations and gender identities?

Then, a friend recently blogged about something that people are not talking about: he is ending his inauguration ceremony with a positive, gay friendly pastor. Her point? The previous administration ushered in an successful campaign to eliminate rights from a targeted group, people are having a dialogue like never before about gay rights, Obama is starting his celebration with a person people have great differences with, and ending it on a positive note. Think about it. Got me to reevaluate what is going on out there.

Then there is the gift of family:

This year marks the first that Steve and I have been able to celebrate Christmas with my mother at her home in Florida and fate had an interesting way of having my father join us. He's staying at my brother's house, which is across the street from my mom's.

Its challenging for some people to have their loved ones at their side, for whatever reason, during the holiday season. For years, I have celebrated Christmas and other holidays with my partner's family. A couple years ago I was fortunate to have some of my family join Steve and me for a fateful Christmas. I will never forget that I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to Mexico to be with my gramma and my mom's family for the holidays several times over the years. Its not easy for Steve and me to have family so spread apart.

Quick aside, before I continue:

My parents have been divorced for about fifteen years, since 1993 I believe.. Some children of divorced parents have had the good fortune of having parents in their lives who have become better friends than spouses. Some children have parents with great differences and rifts between them. On their own, over time, my parents have shared me with what has kept them from having any relationship whatsoever. Although: my mom has had comforting words for my dad when his loved ones have passed away, and my dad has been there when my mom's loved ones have passed away. So I admit, to say they have had no relationship whatsoever is rather unfair.

Back to the gift of family, and the grownup Christmas wish finally granted:

After years of celebrating holidays without my biological family, we all got to have Christmas Eve dinner together. Jav with his boyfriend, Jason. Lupita with her partner, Adam and their beautiful baby Adan. Arturo with his wife Celeste. Art's beautiful children Karina and Breanne. Of course, me with my boyfriend Steve. All of us having dinner together and enjoying each other's company. Nice. Very nice indeed.

At first the thought of everyone in close proximity with each other conjured thoughts of drama and a whole lot of what if's. In the end there was no way in HELL that any member of the family, in such close proximity with each other, would be spending time alone. A couple times throughout the day several of us discussed how this day would play out. In the end: with some uncertainty, of course we should all be together for dinner.

Then after a Baptist Christmas Eve service it happened: my mom extended the invitation to my father and of course said some things in addition to the invitation. My daddy, the proud and stubborn man he is, accepted the invitation and of course had to respond to my mom. My sister was standing there, completing a rather emotional quartet. At that point I just didn't care about what was being said as tears of joy began to flow down my face. All I could do was chuckle, cry with joy, mutter something to end the discussion, express my pride in having my mami and papi by side this Christmas, and clutch the four of us together while I hear my sister saying something simple about us having a hug of piece.

So what I got this Christmas? Opportunities to reevaluate things, to be with my family for Christmas, and to get a new grownup Christmas wish. That wish? For my parents to develop their relationship as friends.

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