This will be the first Christmas my dad doesn't make Santa calls to families with young children. It will be the first Christmas that I'm not ordered to get rid of my father for a few hours so my mother can work at the house. I mostly don't think about it, but I still need to get the top off the Festivus Pole Dad decorated two years ago and it made me remember.
We're leaving tonight for Christmas. We're going to the Fatherland, a land flowing with lard and sorghum. We'll stay at a swank resort and allow ourselves to be transformed into veal (fed, massaged, soaked in hot swirling water...).
I'm starting to feast on the memories. Seeing the Festivus pole doesn't bring the stabbing pain to my solar plexus that it would have months ago. I won't dare pretend that I leave this year with more than I came in. I've lost a lot. But I've gained a better appreciation for my mother, I cherish friends a bit more, and when we hit the road tonight, we'll make all the restroom stops we want.
Merry Christmas, internets.