Thursday, December 24, 2009

Home, Sweet Home

It's that time of year when everyone abandons their daily routine for celebration, family, gift-giving, and prayer.   It's the time of year when people buy things that they can't really afford just to see the face of a loved one light up with surprise and joy.    It is a time of great love.  It is a time of much busyness.  It is a time of hope.

During this Christmas post, I would like to spotlight one particular person in my life who makes my Christmas what it is: my daddy.  If you don't know this man, then hopefully you have someone in your life like him.   My father is one of the best and holiest people I have ever known.   He's not holy because he has not fault, rather he is holy because he never stops working to mend his faults.  He is a humble man.  Even when I was a very young child, he would apologize to me whenever he spoke is frustration or impatience with me.  It is very difficult to admit mistakes and apologize to your children, especially if the reason for said mistakes is often the bad behavior of said children.  Daddy never felt that was a good enough excuse.

Daddy is always worried about the well being of his children.  When he is able, he makes a daily holy hour for the spiritual and physical well-being of our family.  He has Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia(CLL), but refuses to pray for his own healing because he feels that he can do more good for those he loves if he suffers through it.  CLL effects his immune system and adds further complications to his health as he ages.  My dad is seventy-four years old and pushes himself to be just as active as he was when I was a little girl.  He does all of the rough-housing with my seven-year-old sister as he did with me when I was that age, but now it costs him so much more.  Daddy is a man of sacrifice.

He is a gentle man too.  He is a protector.  When I was little he prayed over me to keep the nightmares away.  Now, whenever I ask him, he prays over me to banish my fears and anxieties.  He pulls loose teeth and removes splinters with the utmost love and care.  He holds us when we're scared.  He offers compassion when we're ill or hurting.  He offers counsel when we feel lost.  He taught me what a gentleman is and his love for my mother sets the standard for what I want in my own marriage(God willing).

Daddy loves Christmas.  Every year he tells us all not to give him gifts.  He means it.  He explains that there is nothing he needs, nothing he wants, and that we shouldn't waste our money on gifts for him because he knows that we love him.  Of course, we never listen, because such a man deserves to be honored with sentimental gifts that let him know how wonderful we feel he is.

Every Christmas Eve, after Midnight Mass, we gather in the living room around Dad's la-z-boy recliner and he reads, with his best bayou accent, "The Cajun Night Before Christmas".  He's been doing this for as long as I can remember.  Sometimes he also read "The Gift of the Magi" or "The Cowboy Night Before Christmas".  We are each given a special Christmas Eve ornament to unwrap and put on the tree, then we all head up to our beds and wait for Santa to work his magic.

Not Daddy.  Even after Santa has come and gone, Dad stays in his recliner all night.   He does this every Christmas.  Once, when I was a little girl, I asked him why.  He told me that he wants to be there to see everyone's first reaction to all the gifts.  This, of course, is especially true for the reactions of the children, who usually exclaim with delight, "He came!" as if they somehow thought "he" might not come.

Then, once everyone is awake and in the living room, Daddy sits by the tree and, one by one, passes out gifts.   He does one at a time because he wants to watch all of the reactions.  Even for the older ones there's almost always a gift that is a total surprise.  Mom and Dad don't feel like they did it right if they can't find some very special surprise for each of their children.

I have been so blessed in my family.  I'll probably write about the other members soon.  For now, I just wanted you to share a part of my Christmas.  Merry Christmas to you all, my dear friends!  God bless you!


Kelly said...

This is a beautiful entry, Therese. I'm so glad you were blessed with such an amazing man for your father. This made me smile for you!

Merry Christmas!

T said...

Thank you, my sister! Merry Christmas!

Suze said...

I have a daddy like this, too. I even blogged about him once. We are lucky, lucky girls. :) Merry late Christmas and happy New Year.