A great Christmas story does not need a sweeping plot ,building to a moving crescendo with heartwarming music culminating into a tearful , joyful ending. It simply can be a series of moments sent against a wintry, rainy San Francisco backdrop ( that feels more like spring) and the magic still happens. Christmas came early for me this year.
I was visited by my son and his wife.
It has been over two years since I have seen them. It sounds ludicrous that we have not seen each other in that time, but our schedules and also some financial set backs impacted us. We talked and communicated constantly ( thank you, technology) but it has not been the same.
My son and I also have a lot of ground to make up. Without going into too much detail, our relationship was derailed a few years ago, because he found out in the most awful, damaging way that the big reason for my divorce from is mother was that I came out as a gay man. He had not been given that information from us. The reason for this was that I came out from a very conservative religious background and unfortunately had no tools ( in the area I lived) to help the children process that and I agreed under pressure not to talk to the children about my sexuality until they were much older. I was made convinced it was better for them. One of the biggest mistakes of my life.
My son and I were so close and the way he found out was so destructive , it literally destroyed our relationship from the time he was 14 until he was 20. I spoke to him really just once in that time period. What was worse is that he went through an ordeal personally that took him to a dark place in his life and he finally, through counseling, his mother ,and his own courage made it out.
It was during that process he found me again. He eventually saw me as his dad and literally found his love for me. The past precious few years have been a new era for us as father and son. Love conquered all.
He was my little man when he was younger. We were inseparable. My only son. I have daughters, also. I remember him literally tackling me every time I came home from work. He and I would spend hours playing computer games. We had our own special guy movies we would go and see. I would watch and cheer him on in his team sports. We are both competitive and love sports. He was fearless. There are so many stories in my heart of memories of me and my son.
During our estrangement, part of me died. I had worked my whole life to accept who I was and in doing so, it looked like things did not get better. There was a time I almost believed it was better I never existed. It was the children who helped me find purpose. With the volatility in the industries I was in, jobs took me farther from them as I needed to support my children. They have been the driving force in my life and I lived and worked with them always in the center of what I did when it came to earning a living and being a dad ( even if I was not present in the home). My only regret is that I wished I could have lived closer. Wisdom always is better in hindsight.
Now all that is in the past , much healing has happened and there is so much more happiness. I have all my children with me in heart and we are together as they experience young adulthood.
So, my enterprising son and his wife, flew into San Jose for a conference for a business they are doing together. Yes, my son is in school and about to go to grad school for an MBA. Works as personal trainer and also co-partners with his wife in a business. He is younger than 25. He is more mature than I was at his age. We are always on the phone talking about business, his dreams and he just has such an ambitious , expansive view. Do I sound like a proud dad? I sure damn am.
His wife is in social services also and is trained in ballet and dance. Beautiful , wonderful girl. I love her like my own.
So , back to the Christmas moment. After a couple of days of conference, they got a night Caltrain from San Jose to San Francisco. I met them down at the station. Seeing him , I hugged him and my mind went back to when he was a lot shorter than me and was that little boy. I remembered when he was born and I literally shouted in the delivery room at the Guam Memorial Hospital when they told me he was a boy. I hugged him at the train station for a little while and tears flowed. I hugged both of them. That moment will be frozen in time for me.
With the precious hours we had and to avoid the rain, we got in a taxi and headed to North Beach to an Italian restaurant for a late dinner. My son is part Italian. The meal was great. The waitstaff were so wonderful to us . We spent our time over the meal reminiscing, talking, and just being. We laughed, joked, and got caught up in that true San Francisco feeling. A few years ago I could not have imagined having such a wonderful time with my son. It was happening. It was real.
I swear there was a Christmas song playing in the background.
All of the heartache of the past was washed away. My son and I are in a new era of our life. We want to see each other more often. In fact we are talking about exploring business ventures together. He gave me some materials to consider. I believe we also have some father/son vacations to plan.
It does get better. Not only because of truth . Because love truly conquers all.
So this is my Christmas magic. When I sent them on their way on the Caltrain back to San Jose, it was this beautiful wonderful thing that seem to define this season no matter what faith or non-faith you have, that this is what life is really all about. This is what is most important.
“City sidewalks, busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas…”
- Caltrain holiday train stops in Burlingame as 56th annual Los Gatos Children’s Christmas and Holidays Parade rolls (photos.mercurynews.com)
- Today Is Christmas (nativemichigander.com)
- Ghosts of Christmas Present (gailkav.wordpress.com)
- In Branson Missouri, Christmas Comes Early (prweb.com)
- Christmas Traditions (myblogexactly.wordpress.com)
- Christmas Book Fair! (rkgtheauthor.wordpress.com)
- My Christmas Lessons 2012 (simonhaughton.co.uk)
- The Royal Roots of the American Christmas Tree (history.com)