Toys, toys, toys…
The silly season is upon us. We are being urged to go out and spend, spend, spend! He or she who gets the biggest and most expensive gift is clearly the winner, the most loved and cared about. Well if that is the case my kids wont feel much gratitude. They will feel well and truly left out. All they will be getting from Dad is the same thing they got last year and the year before…a letter.
I can’t claim any brilliant inspiration that brought about what is becoming a tradition; I was pretty much broke 3 years ago and really couldn’t afford to buy expensive presents. Yes I have spent up large on my kids over the years. They have not wanted for much and I had tried to continue to be a great gift giver as they got older. Guess what, the universe had other plans and the whole family took a toweling in 2013 interestingly we are now all the better for it.
Put it in writing
That Christmas I sat down and wrote each of my four children a letter. Thanking them for being in my life and telling them what a difference they had made to me over the previous 12 months. As a Dad I also shared my hopes and maybe a bit of take it or leave it advice, call it ideas. Perhaps I was lucky because they all loved it as one of them said. “It’s really cool, you deliberately took time out to sit down and think about me”. I can’t even claim credit for the idea of writing letters to your children. My Mum gave me that one, although her letters could carry a real sting. If it was a message she felt you had to get, she made sure you received it in detail via a letter under your pillow!
I wanted to send my children a message, and that message was their Father loved them very dearly. He thought about them and noticed them all the time and just this once he wrote down his thoughts and feeling to share with them. The lesson I learned is those letters meant more than anything I could buy them. The gift of my time to ponder on them, to ask myself why they mattered and what my thoughts for them were. This is the true gift and YES the givers still gets a bigger kick out of it than the receiver! I kept the letters on file and read them before writing the next one. They are becoming stories in themselves, a record of hopes and ideas and how they have become reality.
The power of intent
In re-reading the letters the power of intent become crystal clear. Be careful what you ask for you will receive it and it may not be what you think it is. I started 2016 with what I knew to be 4 daughters and ended it with 3 daughters and a son. I also started the year wanting my children to find peace and happiness. As it turns out for one of them that meant literally changing everything. He discovered the core reason he had never felt at home in his skin was because he was trapped in a woman’s body.
When I heard this news I wasn’t surprised. Indeed I felt blessed what a wonderful gift I had just been given. I was so grateful he had discovered who he was, grateful he has found peace at last and is actually the happiest I have known him to be. Mostly I am humbled to be given the opportunity to know what it feels like to be a parent of a transgender person. How many Dads get that chance? My son and family sacrificed so as I could have this experience why would I waste it? Oh I could have fallen into denial and amplified the pain AND in doing so miss the opportunity to express love toward my child and to everyone else living this reality. That is why no matter what happens an attitude of gratitude is the key to everything.
How to get the most out of Christmas
I recall a Christmas when all I got was a pillow case…I was not happy! But does it really matter if you don’t get anything for Christmas? What if you take toll of all the gifts life is showering upon you right now. Work out what you have to be grateful for and show that Gratitude by giving some love and caring. If you lend a hand to a friend and BE the spirit of Christmas physical gifts don’t even register.
May you have a Very Merry Christmas, thank you for 2016 we’ll be back in January for an exciting 2017.