I’m going back to New England in a couple weeks. I’m going back on the condition that there will be no Christmas and certainly NO GIFTS! This is the first time I’ve seen my family in about three years and I don’t want anybody thinking they have to get me something and I certainly don’t want that stress of trying to think of something to buy for everybody. I just want to go back and enjoy my family for a couple weeks, no expectations and no gifts. I hate gifts. I don’t like gifts and I don’t like Christmas.
As a Scottish Buddhist, I don’t feel any spirituality at all. I’m religious, just not spiritual. I think everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, but, Jesus...
Tinsel your trees, eat your matzo ball soup and pray five times a day but keep that shit away from me. And don’t expect me not to blog about it.
But anyway, I have the best family you could imagine. My parents are genuinely good people and raised my sister and me with morals, manners and empathy. My Dad spent years in the insurance business. Looking back, I see a guy in his thirties with a wife, a mortgage and two kids. When the Hartford downsized, my Dad my dad went into social work. Now he works Habitat for Humanity.
All growing up, my Dad never hit me, no matter what I did. My friend’s dads would give ‘em a quick beating after some of the stupid shit we did, but my Dad always wanted to talk it out. My friend Ray would get a beating but it only lasted five minutes. My Dad would take me out for a hot dog and my punishment would last all afternoon! I remember thinking once, ‘Just hit me and let me go!’ Instead, he reasoned with me, and for all my flaws, at least I’m not a dick.
And then there’s my Mom. She has always worked with kids, whether in schools, day cares or what she still does today, Head Start. She encouraged me and my sister to draw and read and ask and explore and play and pet strange dogs.
We had a bit of a rough stretch when I was 14 to 17, but it was all me. Looking back, I realize she was in her thirties and dealing with somebody who would later be diagnosed bipolar. She remembers me complaining that our life was too boring. I used to complain that my friend’s families always had something going on- divorce, conflict, arrests, and I had nothing. My parents loved me and Suzi and sacrificed and provided for us, and somehow, I felt cheated. I wasn’t horrible to my Mom, but I sure wasn’t easy.
I also get to see my sister and her family. We never fought about anything and she will always be my best friend. She used to be my kid sister but now she seems to be the older sibling. In my darkest hours, she demanded that I swear I would never commit suicide, no matter what.
So here I am, alive and well, and going back to Connecticut for two weeks. And I’m looking forward to it. Thanks, man.