It's that time of the year again; that time where decorations are put up, holiday shopping is done early, and holiday tunes are played all through every station that we know of. It's a time to remember that life is precious, family is important, and that nothing should ever be taken for granted.
Of course, there are a few people who think that the holidays are just for kids. That, and a few Grinches and Scrooges among us who absolutely hate the holidays all together. Their reason why are a mystery, but they have a right to their own opinions.
For me, I take holidays very seriously. The reason why is because of an experience that I had when I was about eight or nine years old, and it was a day that I'd never forget. One that I'll always remember every single holiday, a day that changed my perspective on the importance of holidays altogether.
I was about eight or nine that day; my older brother, my younger sister, and I were with a family relative doing early Christmas shopping for family gifts at a local Wal-Mart. My older brother and younger sister were with the family relative looking over at toys; I, on the other hand, was looking over at the books. There were many different books, some were about Christmas cooking while others were about Christmas stories and such.
I finally found a book about a girl taking care of reindeer, when I suddenly heard screaming. I look down two aisles, to see a boy in a green swear and slacks sitting crisscross in front of a popular toy shelf at the time balling his fists over his eyes, and was a crying mess. There was a girl much taller than me with her long black hair in pigtails wearing a pink dress kneeling next to him, trying to comfort him. The girl looked to be between nine and twelve years old, the boy looked to be about six. I wasn't sure, but they looked to be brother and sister.
Feeling that they could use some help, I walked over to them and stood about a foot away from them. Just as I was asking if everything was okay, the little boy decided to throw a tantrum and kick me in the calf. The girl scolded him for it,but the boy seemed not to care and went back to crying and screaming.
"I'm sorry about Toby," The girl said to me looking up, "he's been in a really bad mood lately."
"It's okay," I told her with a smile, "why is he grumpy?"
"Well," the girl explained, "grandpa had to be put in a hole yesterday next to a rock with words, and now he's scared that the same thing will happen to dad and mom."
Felling a bit more curios, I asked her why Toby was feeling that way.
"Well," the girl said, "our daddy fights bad guys for a living."
"Dad doesn't need to fight bad guys!" Toby shouted, crossing his arms and pouting with his eyes puffy and his face red and soaked from tears, "He needs to come home!"
"...are you scared about losing your daddy?" I ask.
Toby nodded, in which his sister told him that their dad would be home soon. My relative soon found us, and I had explained to her that they were lost trying to find the bathroom, and her little brother got scared. I didn't like lying, but it wasn't my place to tell them why the little boy was really crying.
My relative took all of us to the front desk, calling for the relatives for the kids. A few minutes later, a woman in her twenties and another woman in her mid forties to early fifties, who turned out to be their mom and grandma, rushed over to the kids and hugged them. The kids said sorry that they got lost, but the adults didn't seem to be mad at them. They seemed relieved that the kids were okay, and not picked up by some weirdo stranger. My relative and the kids's mom and grandma spoke for a good while, and that talk explained everything about why that boy was upset.
Their grandpa had died of a heart attack a few weeks beforehand, and they had just buried him the day before. Their dad was in the military ( I can't remember is he was in the army or the marines), and that he was going to be gone for a while. That boy was scared that his dad was going to die, and that he'll never see him again like his grandpa.
Before we separated, I gave the boy and girl a candy cane as a way to try to make them feel better. Their mom and grandma thanked me, and they went their way as we did ours. I never saw them again, but I did learn a valuable lesson that day.
No one knows when their last day is going to be, and how it can all end by the blink of an eye. Someone could be fighting in a war when it happens, or they could have a heart attack out of nowhere. You never now when your time, or the time of your loved ones, are going to stop, and that is why holidays are important to me.
That Christmas or New Years may be the last holiday that you'll ever spend with your mom and dad, or you may never get to have another fourth of July with your wife and kids. Any holiday in general may very well be your last, because we don't have a guarantee that we're going to see another tomorrow. Or, another today, for that matter.
So, when someone talks about the holidays being just for kids, or say their usual "bah humbugs," I'll always remember the boy Toby, and his big sister in the pink dress. Hopefully, their dad did come home from the war. Their lesson shall remain with me until the end of my time, and maybe even after that. If Toby and his sister are reading this, I want to say thank you for what you have taught me.
And happy holidays, to you and everyone.