I may have mentioned it a few times (laugh at myself), but I am not in a very good financial situation right now. I am struggling to un-bury myself from past medical bills, which I am committed to cleaning up. Unfortunately, that means for the past several years I have not bought Christmas presents for anyone in the family. Unlike some people I have known, I feel it is wrong to spend money you don’t have on gifts when you have unpaid obligation. Other people’s lives are affected by my debt. However, this has not stopped my oldest Sister, who is struggling somewhat too, from sending me a gift card during these years. I have asked her not to worry about it since I do not expect anyone to get me things when I cannot return the sentiment, but I am grateful and embarrassed at the same time.
So this year, even though I still cannot send gifts, I thought I would send her something else. Throughout my childhood and even now, I have always had trouble fitting in. Sadly, this is even true of my own family. I just do not find the same things important as they do, my values are basically different, and I tend to think a lot (a loooot). I really had no place where I felt welcomed for who I was. I was always told to be like everyone else, fit in, stop being difficult, but when I tried, I was not happy.
With my oldest sister; however, even though she advocated change as well, she still was the only one who bothered seeing the world in my terms on occasion. Because I felt disconnected from the family chaos of the holidays and the inevitable dramas, I tended to disappear early to read, play games, or some such. What I remember now is that of all the family members (excluding a niece or nephew here and there), she was the only one that would seek me out.
A memory I have is of my sister spending time with me in the cellar making play dough animals, nobody else, just her. I cannot remember who made the blue shark but it should have been her with her love of the ocean. I also remember her coming up to play Rampage on my Atari 7200. Yes, I had one. I thought it would have been a perfect game for her since she has reputation for gratuitous mayhem, usually involving knives. Even after she got married, she took the time to take me shopping on my birthday and to lunch at Chi Chi’s when they were still good. I wish we could have found s recipe for those fried chicken bites they had then. Finally, I could count on her to surprise me from time to time with a quality gift that fit my science fiction and fantasy side. I still have the chess set that has faeries and demons with beautiful crystal gems and the wine glass with a pewter dragon. They are displayed proudly in my library room.
So, though I can’t send anything nice to her, I hope I have shared with you how nice it was to have a sister who thought a little more about what was important to her bother. This is even more extraordinary given the fact that I was the only son and baby of the family. Because of me, my parents focused on me as the family member to go to college. Efforts that should have been shared more equally, if I had had a say in things then or knew that they had been happening, were spent on me when, in truth, I had not really wanted them. For whatever resentment she could have harbored, she still found time to think of me. Thanks.