Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

I Aim to Enjoy Christmas…

Last year was really tough during the holidays. My son was randomly injured, so the Christmas season was spent with us scrambling to shuttle him to various doctors and hospitals… researching various treatments and trying to make a decision under extreme time pressure. It was all one long, grinding blur of stress that never seemed to let up. In a lot of ways, we’re still digging ourselves out of the mess it caused.

Christmas day was the hardest. We had to be up and out the door to get to some kind of twice-a-day appointment… and some fool had to have church services that day. Why, I ask you…? In the first place, what does Christmas day have to do with church?! I can’t think of anything. Sure have your Christmas pageants if you want, but leave the day alone. It’s for getting up and opening presents in your pajamas, then calling the relatives, and finally… having a nice Christmas dinner. I don’t see any extra time in there to dedicate to giving side hugs to people of varying degrees of preppiness, do you?

I remember it like it was yesterday, though… my son in tears… in pain… he only had time to open one present before we left so that he could be poked and prodded…. That stupid “Dungeons and Dragons Big Box” I had put together… I remember him opening each piece of it… the giant teardrops falling…. It was just completely pathetic and heartbreaking. And then followed the days upon days of me being on autopilot… trudging through my job… coming home and trying to hold it togetherr.

But the changes were not merely physical. I had been able to run my children through some old D&D modules up until then. But between the pain and the drugs and being hooked up to machines… my son was different for months afterward. Ironically, he was spoiled by the whole thing because we bent over backwards to try to comfort him. And his emotions were so raw…. He and his sister couldn’t play together in our role playing sessions like they had before. Too much had changed…. It’s taken time, but he’s healed now. The bulk financial pressure is off thanks to the hospital forgiving the biggest bill to come out of the ordeal. But I tell you, I am not messing around this year. I bought a tree in November. My son picked out a nine foot Concolor fir. I had to go buy extra lights because we didn’t have enough to cover it. I had it loaded up with presents before December first, too.

And of course right now everyone’s getting all warmed up with the snippy comments. Sanctimonious people of all stripes have to point out the “real” reason for the season. Pedantic people snark about its origins. Smug people complain about the commercialism. Me? I can’t help but think of Bilbo… giving away so many gifts in an attempt to make it easier to give away the thing that he most needed to part with…. There is something to it all, I suppose, but time and tide have mixed it together with so many other things that I doubt anyone is really going to nail it all down in the confines of a single Facebook status update. Whatever it is and whatever it has become, I aim to enjoy it. After all, we are all still together. I have work and pay. We mostly have our health… and we have shelter and food. We have all our fingers and toes…. We’re not plugged into machines or riding in ambulances or headed into surgery.

For one brief shining moment, we are all still together. And yes… I’m plugging in the lights and having a glass of eggnog. I don’t know why we’re drinking it. Heck, I don’t even like the stuff. But it’s Christmas… and that is reason enough.

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9 responses to “I Aim to Enjoy Christmas…

  1. Raul De La Garza III (@raul_delagarza) December 16, 2012 at 10:50 am

    This was, by far, the best blog post I have read all year from anyone! You brought me tears and have inspired me to make the most of Christmas this year with my own family. God bless you and your family this season. Have an extra serving of eggnog for me. Merry Christmas!

  2. Rob Eaglestone December 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I think you’re holding up remarkably well under it all. And, I think Jesus would have choice words to the preppy, the pedantic, the sanctimonious, and the smug:

    * “…And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, I tell you the truth, he will never lose his reward.” *

  3. Runeslinger December 16, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    May you and your family pass the season in a sea of tranquility, unbothered by the wandering monsters of the sanctimonious and the smugly judgemental. Eat, drink, game, game more, and be merry.

  4. phantomwhale December 18, 2012 at 6:14 am

    Sounds like you’ve got xmas pretty well nailed there. Hope the ‘nog goes down well, and look forward to more autodueling and old school gaming posts in the future, esp. as someone trying to get back into the Car Wars habit and heading towards the “becoming a Dad / Gamer” part in the near future, hopefully.

    Merry xmas – you totally deserve it !

    • jeffro December 18, 2012 at 9:09 am

      re: Gamer Dad

      My son beat me in Ingenious last Friday. I was seriously trying to win, too. Brings a tear to my eye, I tell you…! Definitely one of those “it doesn’t get any better than this” moments. I hope you have many of them.

  5. Chris Mata December 18, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Best post of the year Jeff. I hope and pray for all the best for you and your family.

    Your post fills me with the same feeling as this Hobbit quote:

    “Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Gandalf”

    Enjoy Christmas!!!

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