Saturday, December 24, 2011

Life and Death in the Times of St. Nick

Christmas is finally here! Well, in another six hours at least but it's Christmas Eve and so that has to count for something. It's one of my absolute favorite times of the year and always has been. Probably always will be. But this year it's for some additional reasons. My perspective on the holiday season is still very much the same: the red and green decorations, too many ornaments on the Christmas tree, my dad's fantastic lasagna that gets made exactly once a year but at the same time I find myself less concerned about the holiday and more with the fact that everyone is together and I am home.
I relish that sentence. I am home. I am home. I am home. I've missed my friends and family more than I thought; even my younger brother with whom I have previously shared mutual feelings of standoffishness. When I turn off my lights at night, the room actually goes dark instead of the quasi-darkness that living in the city institutes. I haven't heard a single siren since I've been home and I love it. Maybe I'm the only college kid who doesn't really want to go back but I doubt it. And if so, it's a title I wear proudly.
Also, being around old friends and family makes me so very aware of how lucky I am and how quickly life goes by. In a blink of an eye, my first semester of college is over and it doesn't take that colorful of an imagination to realize that life will flash by with the same frightening speed if I'm not careful. I've had the absolute joy of babysitting/visiting with my two year old neighbor recently. She laughs and giggles at everything and even her adamant "No!"'s are adorable. I love watching her face change expressions as she discovers something new and I'm proud to say she's in love with my pup, Jack, and that he loves her right back. Being around such a young person with such a bright future ahead of them brings a certain lightness to your heart.
On the other hand, my high school graduating class lost their first member this week. I didn't know the kid well but you don't always have to. It's an odd feeling, knowing that someone you went to school with for four years is now suddenly gone, no longer walking the streets, laughing, driving a car. He was just a kid for God's sake, one whose locker was right next to mine, who sat next to me in freshman history and made me laugh in junior chemistry. And now he's just another blinking star in the sky, lost in the infinite universe we can't quite figure out. My condolences go out to not only his family but to everyone who is suffering the loss of a love this holiday season. To those hurting and those in pain and those struggling through the foggy numbness as they try to find the right path in life. It's no easy thing and it might take years, if not decades, but I truly believe that in each one of us lies the strength, something the holiday season convinces me of each year.
I'm sorry for such a somber post so close to the holiday. Laugh and smile and hug your parents and kids and tell them you love them and then maybe tell them a knock-knock joke. Wear a silly hat and take a picture of it. Teach your dog a new trick. Anything to make your day just that much brighter, not only for yourself but for all those who can only see the dark and for those watching from above.

~M. T. Rossi

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