Holiday Season 2020

Tree

Good evening, or good morning, or good whatever time of day it may be when you’re reading this. And what is THIS you may ask? Its a preamble, or maybe just a ramble, we’ll find out soon enough. 

If you’re seeing this, that means you’ve either received an invite to a Holiday Party via e-vite, or you mananged to hack into my website (and if that is the case, you have way to much time on your hands bro). Now I’m sure your next question is why the hell is he sending out an invite to a holiday party, its literally the day after halloween, pump your brakes. And that’d be a valid question. 

We could ask what is wrong with me, but that’d be a different write up, and one I’m sure there’d be several contributing authors falling over themselves to add to. 

2020 has been very hard. Its been hard for everyone. Luckily economically I haven’t been impacted (yes, I’m knocking on wood), but it has taken more than just a little toll on me. 

I’m a planner, but its not just that. I look forward to things. I plan things so I have something to look forward to. I’m socially awkward. I always have been, I always will be. I constantly feel unwanted or like a third wheel, even when there’s 50 wheels, then I just feel like the 51st wheel making everyone uncomfortable. 

When I was a kid, I remember a Christmas my mom took a job part time job the months prior to the holiday. I don’t remember the name of the store, but I remember it was in Sanford, I think its a Chunky’s Movie theatre now. Anyways, we woke up Christmas morning. And we had hot cocoa, and opened presents, the whole bit. We were by no means rich, but there were always piles of presents under the tree. 

Well that year the big thing was Nintendo, the OG version. We were probably a year behind to be honest. By best friend Jason Bergeron had the system already. Anyways, we were really thinking we’d get it for Christmas. But we opened our presents, and I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what I did get, I just know it wasn’t a Nintendo. I’m sure I pouted at least a little. 

Well, that night, just a little before bed time my sister and I were upstairs when a sound drifted upstairs. The unmistakable sound of Mario… not just Mario, SUPER MARIO. My mom had taken an extra job to make sure she could get us a Nintendo. And to add to her fun, she didn’t give it to us in the morning, she held out all day and surprised us (this is probably where I get this behavior from, trying to take a gift and find a way to make it extra special by making it a dramatic surprise, a trait I’m fairly certain my ex-wife hated) before bed. And honestly I’m glad she did. Because she’s been gone for 29 years, and its not the present I remember (even though it was AWESOME), it was the sneaky way she gave it to us, that memory is what I still have, not the Nintendo. 

I have other nice Christmas memories. Pretty much all back in New England now that I think of it. Vegas just doesn’t have the same feel. There are no frost bitten nights headed to the high school gym to catch a basketball game. No snow drifts covering the land. No feeling of the whole land shutting down around you, making your home, your family, and your tree an oasis of love and warmth. No brilliantly lit Catholic cathedrals calling you in to worship. Just a dry, brown backdrop without family. At least for a while there were two of us. Now its just me a Harley, and she’s pissed at me for moving her toy pile to put up the tree.

Another of my favorite memories was from back when I was coaching. I don’t recall the exact years, though I could look it up, but I had been recruiting a great kid, Norman de Silva. He lived down in Dartmouth (the town between Providence and Cape Cod, not the University in New Hampshire). Now, we did not land Norm, which in hindsight I’m please about, he ended up at Babson, and has done well for himself since then, he would have squandered his abilities for us. Anyways, he had a tremendous family, with whom I grew to know between his games, camps, BBQs and backyard games at his house, etc. 

Anyways, it was a tradition that every year they threw a party. It was always like something out of a cheesy Hallmark movie. A huge house, warmed by fire places and copious amounts of liquor. A feast of food that would make most blush. Everyone, and I mean everyone was there. All dressed up, looking their best, all welcome, all friendly and in good Christmas cheer. It was terrific. 

I always wanted to be that family. Now, it seems obvious that will never happen. Decembers here have been very different in Vegas to say the least. I “remember” I threw a really good birthday house party in 2009. I say I remember because I got plastered and passed out well before the party ended. But the pictures looked really good. The year we were renting Al’s house, which I suppose made it 2014, I tried to throw a big ole Christmas bash. I had a wife, maybe not a whole family, but a wife. We had a giant house, one to match the de Silva’s. I got all the kids Christmas presents, and I dressed as Santa, but honestly, only a very small fraction of people invited showed up. And once Santa came and went, the party died down, and went out with a whimper, not a bang. 

I know I build things up in my head. Mentally I am aware of that, and mentally I attempt to temper myself so I’m not destroyed when things don’t meet my expectations. But honestly that never works. 

Last year may have been the worst, my 41st birthday (also in December in case you didn’t know or didn’t pick up on that) was spent alone. In all fairness Leanna did call and ask if I wanted to go to dinner since Kim had left for my birthday weekend, but while I was pitying myself, I was not willing to be pitied by another. That birthday nightmare (keep in mind I’ve been a countdown to my birthday type guy, since freshman year in college really when Monica made a super big deal of my birthday, and made me feel really special, something I’ll never forget) was followed up by a Christmas with a distinct lack of presents from within my house. And while yes I know its about giving, and I LOVE giving presents, I’m told thats my love language, it still hurt.  (if you give me a present in December and I don’t open it then, thats why, years of wanting to make sure I had something to open on Christmas morning) 

All that leads me into why I’m sending out invites for a holiday party in December on November 1st. I want you there. I’m not doing anything for my birthday, so you won’t get multiple invites from me from the month. I’m asking for one night. I want to have Christmas music playing. I want kids running around playing. I want adults drinking wine, and egg nog. I want to not feel awkward for a night. Christmas cookies, and hot cocoa. I want to create an atmosphere so nice and welcoming that it doesn’t feel like a chore for you to be there with me. I want to find a way to create another good holiday memory somehow. 

The holidays have turned into a perpetual disappointment, and 2020 has been a craptastic year that has taken too much from too many. So I’m asking that you please come. That you please RSVP in a timely manner, I have some things I’m putting together, and having an accurate head count is important. I don’t think I can overstate how much it’ll mean to me to have a night with everyone there, a night that meets the dreams I have in my head. 

I’ve already put up my Holiday decor today. Vegas will never get me in the real Christmas spirit, the weather will never allow for it. So I’ve gotta do what I can to get me there. Let me try and get you there as well. 

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