As I grew up, I never realized what the holidays really meant to me. From the time we are young, we are taught that the holidays are a cheerful season full of love, kindness, and giving, but do adults really expect their kids to believe that? Most kids believe Santa is coming with new toys and that there is no need to do homework for two weeks. Every year I, too, enjoyed the giving and receiving of gifts and the time off school, but I never really appreciated the holiday season for what it’s worth. But when my older brother, mentor, and best friend left for college, my whole outlook on the holiday season would change.
Growing up in my household was a rough ride. Through all the struggles of losing jobs, divorces, bankruptcies, and family members in and out of the house, I was always waiting for the loops of the roller coaster to be over so we could come to the straightaway; but that wouldn’t come anytime soon. I moved out of my mother’s house in fourth grade and lived with my grandparents for the next five years. I loved seeing my three siblings any chance I could get.
When I started to live with my dad again in high school, I was relieved to see my siblings at least once a week. I appreciated my family. I learned that every bit of time I was allowed to spend with my brothers and baby sister was precious to me. When the summer before my brother left for college came around, I didn’t think I would miss him. It would be nice to get him out of the house, I thought. Not until he was really gone did I realize my heartbreak. I missed my brother, my best friend, my secret bearer. I would long for the next time my family would all be together.
As each new winter season comes around, I am excited for my brother to come home. I want to join him in every activity he is part of. This is when we become best friends again. When he is home, so are all our friends. I didn’t realize until it happened, but the holidays really bring everyone together. I long for each holiday to come around, as they almost force every college student home to their families.
Now I have learned to deal with the scheduled times I get to see my best friend. I long for holidays, those huge family gatherings, the random dinners, and the millions of pictures taken. These memories bring me to tears with the thought of my appreciation for these people. As I anticipate my future and leaving for college myself in the next few months, I realize how important coming home for the holidays will mean to me. Of course I will enjoy the gifts, and the time off from school, but I believe in the real reason for being home for the holidays.