The Presence of Loved Ones as Presents

“I’m sorry to say it, but this is what it’s all about.”

“Don’t be sorry about it, it’s something I wish I had.”

My client Chuck was standing back, admiring what his hard work and love had created. I was watching him watch his children and their significant others all enjoying a nice night out.

It takes the holidays to nudge people into times of reflection because it’s one of the only chances families and friends can get together. Laughter over past stories, hugs for friends not seen in months, tears for our loved ones that aren’t with us.

In Chuck’s case, he stopped for a moment to realize that his kids were now adults, their lives scattered between work and living far away from him, they were close to starting families, and he cherished that for this Christmas, everyone was together again, like when they were children.

Watching them made me think of past Christmases with tables full of family, funny arguments over who’s cooking was better, typical holiday banter. I might have been a little young, but those moments always stayed with me. They mean more now since those moments are few and far between.

I can stand there and wish I had those moments, but I know I’m guilty for taking family and friends for granted; the ones that created those memories for me.

It’s easy to blame outside influences; work, social events, stuff that doesn’t matter in the bigger scheme of things because it absolves us of responsibility. I tell myself that I can see them the next time that I’m in town, hopefully I won’t be busy.

That’s if I’m lucky because sometimes there isn’t next time and you look back to regret that you didn’t take the few minutes to call or visit family members or friends.

After I told Chuck my wish for having my loved ones around, he said that I did. He was right, I turned around to see my best friends and father walk into the room.

“Now it’s your turn, Merry Christmas.”