Do the Dates Matter?

Last week, when I was leaving the Youth Shelter, I told that next time I would come on December 11 for their Christmas party. I was very apologetic that I will be away for so long. I said that I wouldn’t be able to come because I will have my family coming for Thanksgiving and that I will be out of the country for Christmas. And one of the residents said: I do not think I ever had a real Christmas. He said it matter-of-factly and continued our conversation, and I was stunned.

I immediately remembered how my dear friend N. told me that she is going the spend her Thanksgiving and Christmas not with her family, but with those who need it most. At that moment, I felt more than before the rightness of what she is doing.

Our grown-up children are often the subjects of the parental wars over Christmas and Thanksgiving – everybody wants them in their homes. But how does it feel on the opposite side, when you do not have a place to go…

I remember that last year, I was talking to Vlad about bars being opened on Thanksgiving and Christmas (and him always having to work on these days). I told him: I can’t imagine anybody heading to the bar at Christmas! He replied: Mom, you will be surprised!
I guess I never realized how many. A girl from the nail spa told me today; I am going to have a Friendsgiving on Friday, I have nobody to get together with.

And here is another thought. In our family, since we all are scattered around the world, we learned not to stress out about the particular days, knowing quite well that it’s the thought that matters. Although I have to admit that there are some dates, we are trying very hard to make. But the reason we are so flexible with dates is that each of us knows we have our family. That we care about each other, and that we understand the difference between important and not so important things. We do not need any symbolic reassurance.

And for a person who lives in a world of uncertainty, the symbols are way more important. They make a world around more friendly and more accepting.

There is no moral for this story. I just learned something about the world and myself, and I will try hard to give my holiday time to those who need it most.

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