The Year’s Best Gift
This story was submitted by Andy Sitison to The Best Gift Ever collection as part of the December SEEQ sessions.
A couple days before Dec 25th, I lazily climbed out of bed, walked to the bathroom on the way to feeding the domesticated beasts that live in my home. On my way there the spike of invisible pepper hung in my nose, and the drip of mild liquid acid drained from my sinuses. It was only a day ago that the grip of a two week cold had relinquished its hold upon me, and my chest still hung heavy in the morning as I hacked out globs of what I will not say more on. It was a frightful sight, yet it was recovery and relief that my holiday would be flem-free or close to it.
As I walked to the coffee maker, which is my priority as a multi-tasker, to get a brew in the pot before I scoop the rice, potatoes, and chicken into the dogs bowl. Yes, here its homemade vitals even for the dog because it’s cheaper, and the fact that both he and I are allergic to $60 bags of gourmet BS that is the current trend. I digress It was at this time standing at the coffee pot, feeling the rawness of my orificial cranial membranes that I realized what was my most cherished gift this year.
Here we are in a season of darkness, fought off by the celebration of light. While my newly adult kids all make it home for this special event. They could be elsewhere, they may have taken a day or two and made alternate adventures on their way, but each has made it here to spend a little time with my wife, myself and the small gathering of beasts.
I know of the power of connectedness, so much so I protect it. It has sanctuary with me. Even with my attempts to shield my family, they like I, bare scars from weaponized need, displayed as love. As parents of adults who have had to put up protections for our kids, our house, albeit not without dysfunction, is a place that all come on their own accord. So when everyone comes it’s by their choosing. Add to that the love interests they each bring, we approach a true quorum of memories in the making.
Since this story is about a special gift, let me return to that. All of this is possible because of many things, experience, parenting, genetics, love, financial success, and luck to name a few. The tumblers have all fallen and the lock unlocks. There is also a very pragmatic silent participant who joins us. This presence is both felt like a hug, on that I felt that morning at the coffee pot, and whose is equally responsible for reddening my nose. That is heat. The simple pleasure of heat is a special gift that I take for granted many moments every winter day. Watching Bob Cratchet with his fogged breath and 4 lumps of holiday coal, I am reminded how wonderful our current world is, how amazing the simple pleasures of my family and close friends in congress in this big heated house are. This is truly magic, even if I have been desensitized by my privilege and accomplishment to recognizing it all around me. Its freedom, it’s the whim of casual decisions with time on my hands and family around.
My gift is also sub-optimized. In my house I have warm square footage where no one stands, sits, showers, or eats egg casserole. Big mechanical engines burn the fuel piped to my house, while I carry out the trash of the exhaust of our consumption. There are others who have no heat, have little to consume, and probably correlatively no one to be with them in the cold that is their reality. Yes, I say giving and a more thoughtful waste plan will definitely be included in my new years resolve, but for now conceptually. How do I process the fact that humanity is always significantly short of its capacity for compassion, giving, and sharing the easiest of our owned equity that we leave as wasted byproducts of our existence? If everyone was family, would they not come home to my heated house instead?