Anyways, I'm older, wiser, and LET ME OPEN MY PRESENTS!!!!! GAH! *RENDING OF GARMENTS! GNASHING OF TEETH!*
Okay, I'm better now.
This year has been one of extremes. I've had some really, incredibly, excitingly fun and joyous moments. A trip to Walt Disney World with family and friend could not have gone better if I was named SFC D(isney). I've managed to be assigned to a unit staffed by some of the most competent professionals I've ever had to work with, and a command team that is proactive and takes readiness seriously, and I'm the NCOIC for, probably, the smartest trio of FTUS in the command.
I've also had to deal with a whole lot gut-wrenchingly painful moments. The divorce and some financial woes contributed to some bouts of depression during the year. The rejections of the fairer sex are always a Balko-eqsue nut-punch, but after the first couple, well, you suck it up, drive on, and learn from the failures.
Life is what it is, and being back in Texas for a couple of days, surrounded by the people who have always supported and encouraged me, it's tough to get too down.
My quintessential Christmas memory is from when I was about 6 years old. We were living in Pennsylvania and it was almost midnight on Christmas Eve, about to transition to Christmas. Like all kids that age I was certain I had heard Santa. I snuck downstairs to try and spot him, but I realized my dad must have scared him away because he was down there looking through the presents Santa left. Shock and Awe! Dad kept me from seeing Santa! Oh well, next year. In consolation for missing out on Santa I was bribed to return to bed by getting to open a present. I did. It was good. It was the former of the two gifts I will mention shortly.
That wasn't the memory to which I was referring.
This was the Christmas where I got two, two(!) Transformers! Hound and Jazz. I was so psyched. This was 1984. There could be nothing better for an elementary school-age boy than a Transformer. Think "Red Rider BB Gun"-level of awesome. I remember my dad having a problem getting Hound to transform properly because there was a hitch in the mechanism which made his head pop out of the hood. It took the combined guy-power of us to figure out what was causing the issue (or, he knew and he just wanted the make me feel like I was helping solve a near-impossible to fix problem, I don't know). This morning is forever etched into my mind because of a photograph. It is a picture of my dad on the couch we had at the time. He is in a brown terry-cloth robe and there is visible wrapping paper on the floor in front of him. He is unshaven and he is
Anyways, that is my Christmas memory. A snowy morning in a house I barely remember playing with a couple of well built (both of them lasted for a few years of playground-level abuse) toys, that years later can still trigger details about a man who died 20 years ago.
So, I'm relaxing on the couch at my mom's, cup of coffee in hand, listening to a CD that has played every Christmas for the better part of the past decade an my mom calling around to wish folks a Merry Christmas.
For those still reading, Merry Christmas. I hope you're spending it with folks you care about, and that it is a safe, happy time for you and your loved ones.