Home For The Holidays
To all the folks who are home for the holidays or away from home on the holidays, a story before I take the next four days off from blogging.
For the first 26 years of my life, I woke up Christmas morning at my house with my mom and my sister. It was a tradition I appreciated more so after I started attending college clear across the country and couldn’t come home but once a year. Thanksgiving, Easter, even my birthday, none of those occasions were important enough for me to make the trip home, but Christmas always was.
Then, two years ago, tradition went undone.
I did it for my girlfriend at the time. Her family wasn’t nearly as big on the Christmas holiday as mine was. Her family was all about Thanksgiving and since she just moved out to New York City to be with me four months prior, I compromised. Instead of going home for Christmas to be with my family, I would go to her home to be with her family for Thanksgiving. Seeing that both our families only lived a two-hour drive away from one another, I would still get a chance to see my mom and my sister.
At the time, breaking tradition didn’t really faze me. As a matter of fact, I was kind of excited about my first Christmas in New York with a woman who at the time I thought was going to be with me at every Christmas moving forward. To me, it felt like something adults did.
But when we arrived back in New York City after Thanksgiving, everything between us was rocky and I don’t even remember why. Thinking back on it, maybe it was the stress of the holidays or maybe there was a little resentment from me regarding my not going home for Christmas. Whatever it was, Christmas time 2007 was a roller coaster ride and it took it’s biggest dip on Christmas Eve.
We had some argument, about what, again I can’t remember. But I do remember it being a perfect excuse for me to leave the apartment and get some last minute Christmas shopping done, all for her. I cannot emphasize this enough. My ex-girlfriend and I got into a huge argument on Christmas Eve, so I left the apartment to go and finish up some last minute Christmas shopping for her. The way I saw it, naughty behavior withstanding, she deserved everything I planned to get her and I was determined to get these things.
The way I figured out what to get my ex was real simple. Whenever the two of us went walking around the city, I would pay attention to things she said she liked and if I could afford those things, I would make a mental note to buy it for her for Christmas. This started around the beginning of December, so I had three weeks worth of stuff she casually mentioned she would like stored in my memory bank, the last of which I wasn’t able to get to until Christmas Eve.
Since we were arguing, I decided to take my time getting the gifts, figuring the space would be good for both of us. I went downtown, midtown, uptown, and even back downtown. All in all, I probably spent close to five hours shopping and walking and thinking.
As I stepped off the subway to walk home, I received a call from my girlfriend asking where I was and where had I been. I could already hear the confrontation in her voice, but seeing as I was carrying a bag full of gifts for her, I wasn’t about to start arguing with her. There were too many trash cans nearby for me to throw the bags in. So I told her I was around the corner and I would be home in five minutes.Then, I hung up.
Then, I got home, walked upstairs to the apartment, turned the key, opened the door and was immediately stopped. My girlfriend locked me out of the apartment. She took the chain bolt and latched it on and would not let me into the apartment. On Christmas Eve, with a bag full of gifts, I was locked out of our apartment.
After what felt like forever but was probably only 10 minutes, she let me inside and from there of course we argued some more. And I still cannot recall what about, but I definitely do know it had something to do with the nerve of her locking me out of the apartment on Christmas Eve.
Eventually, we both got tired of arguing with one another, and went to bed, with our backs facing each other. Seeing as it was Christmas and all, I refused to sleep on the couch, per her request. But something happened the next morning to the both of us.
I don’t remember why were so happy, acting as though we hadn’t argued in like 50 years, but I do remember the sun was shining straight into our bedroom. I remember being excited about giving her the gifts and her giving me mine and how great those gifts were. (Two tickets to see Chris Rock at Madison Square Garden for New Year’s Eve and a pick-up ticket for one of my suits she had tailored for me.) Then, we opened the gifts our parents sent to us. After the gift giving, we went to the Upper West Side to go grocery shopping because we had this urge to make a huge Christmas breakfast. We did that and then we went to the movies to go see The Great Debaters. After, we took a long walk home, and when we got there, had some hot chocolate, watched some television, and went to bed, not with our backs facing each other. Our first Christmas away from our families, complete.
And I know I said I don’t remember why were so happy on Christmas morning, especially when just the night before we were at each others throats. But in retrospect, I remember exactly why we were happy: We were together on Christmas and whatever we fought about the day before took a back seat to the fact that we loved each other dearly.
If there’s one tradition I have always kept with me on Christmas, it is the tradition of waking up that morning to someone I love. For 26 years of my life, those people were my mom and my sister, and for the past two years tradition has righted itself, and it has been my mom and my sister again. But for one year, it was another woman, and though I will never forget it was the same woman who locked me out of an apartment on Christmas Eve, the memory I will keep close with me, is waking up to her on Christmas Day.
Happy Holidays y’all. Make sure to spend them with people you love.