I talked to my mom on the phone today and she told me a funny story about my Dad and the outdoor Christmas lights.
He and I have put up the Christmas lights together whenever I was home. This year, even though I was home visiting, I didn't help him. He grumbled a little bit about it. Not directed at me, just at anyone who would listen. He finally got the icicles straight and plugged in, and declared that he was done.
Then, my mom told me that my sister was telling him that there weren't enough lights on the house. He grumbled about that. My mom answered, light-heartedly, "Since when have you listened to her?"
But my Dad has a big heart for his kids. Sure enough, off he went to BiMart to pick up more lights...and went back and forth from the store about five times. The garage power outlet, according to my mom's account, looks like the Griswold's. The fuse has already blown once.
"You remember that this isn't our house, right? So we can't blow it up."
Lights around the trees in the yard, wrapped along the front porch bannister, with cords running to and fro.
I think it's because his kids are coming home. With every string of lights, Dad is connecting us; connecting our memories of Christmas together, connecting our traditions that we all hold very close and dear.
The last few years have been full of big changes. I've been married for almost five years. My brother is out on his own. My baby sister is a freshman in high school, slowly spreading her wings. One by one, we're making lives of our own. And yet, Christmas is still ours. Still a sacred family time.
And in his small way, Dad is connecting us, lighting the way home.
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