I am in our apartment in Union City. In a few more days, it would be time to open the presents. My letter to Santa Claus had been written, which contained, among other things:
Rock em Sock em Robots
A Hot wheels cars race track
A pretty dress for my mom
From this list, one could assume I wanted to be a NASCAR driver, impale my friends with daggers in my backyard, had a serious anger management problem, and was not fond of my mom’s fashion choices.
My mom had gotten a big Christmas tree this year. It looked 20 feet tall from my tiny eyes, almost reaching the ceiling. It was not a real tree, but looked beautiful, with plenty of blinking lights and silver tinsel. I would sit and watch it often, thinking how great it was going to be to open all of those gifts. I had completely stopped picking on my younger brothers. I was hoping to catch up on some good behavior, in the hopes of keeping Santa happy and receiving everything on my list. Yep, it was all about me.
My little brother was a pain in neck. He just wouldn’t sit still. He got into everything, and if you complained or tried to stop him, he would whine and cry. He didn’t understand Christmas yet. He didn’t realize that the Christmas tree was something you just looked at. To him, it was a big toy. He also had another obsession – getting behind things. So it was not uncommon to find him behind the dresser, or behind the china cabinet.
So one day, as I walk through the living room, I see him. He is walking near the tree, looking for his next conquest. Of course I didn’t know that. Next thing I know, there he is – behind the tree. I will always remember the next few seconds in slow motion.
Down comes the tree.
The majority of the ornaments were glass, and now never to be used again. The tinsel was all over the place. And there is my little brother, on top of the mess – crying. He did it again. After mom finished cleaning up the mess and restoring the tree to it proper place, it was no longer the tree I had remembered. It was just a bare tree – no ornaments, just a few little pieces of tinsel. Oh and the best part, our couch was now in front of the tree, in an effort to keep the devil child away from it. The rest of that Christmas, any time someone came by the house, we had to endure the weird looks and obvious “What the…” questions. For several years after, our tree was reduced to a two foot miniature tree placed on a high shelf on a book case. Good grief Charlie Brown!
You want to know something? I miss those years, every single one of them. We were so innocent, and so was the world around us compared to today’s standards. We ate at the table as a family. We talked to each instead of staring at video games. There was no Face Book or My Space so we all actually communicated with each other in person. We were four boys and life in our house was chaos, but we really got the chance to be children, instead of being forced to grow up so quickly like kids are today.
My brother is an adult now, with a wife, and a new baby boy, my nephew. In the future I hope to spend Christmas with my little brother and his family. I hope to see my nephew open his presents, and see that he receives some of the toys he asked Santa for.
But above all else, I hope one day to walk into his home, and see a couch in front of his Christmas tree.