A sparkle, a toast, a one-of-a-kind, couture-inspired outfit seem like the most awe-inspiring way to ring in the holiday season.
I often dreamed of being invited to glamorous parties — fetes with posh guests, where I was one of the best dressed, of course.
They were places where fascinating conversations took place, and only the fabulous ladies and gentlemen attended. This is what I saw year after year at the ritzy Dallas area hotel where I worked.
But then my great-grandmother died on Christmas Eve. And everything changed. I had a chance to visit her before she died, but that would involve leaving work, so I stayed. Nothing ruins the holidays like a death.
Having gone to considerable lengths to secure my new position in hotel management, I now had to choose between working the glamorous New Year’s Eve party or attending her funeral. I chose the funeral.
Two months later, I quit my job. And every year on Christmas Eve, I went through spells of crying for my great-grandmother and bitterness over the choice I made.
In America, the holidays mean a time to celebrate. Well, that holiday spark I sought wasn’t wrapped in “the best dressed list of 2015,” nor dressed in a promotion, new home or perfectly selected dress. It wasn’t even in getting the opportunity to say goodbye to my dear great-grandmother before her death.
The holiday spark I desperately sought after could only be filled from within. What I learned was to celebrate what’s really important right now, not just during the holidays. I learned to tell the ones I love how I felt right now instead of later.
Now, I look upon my great-grandmother with joy. Although I was a day late in saying goodbye to her, she was actually a day early for a party on a heavenly level, Jesus’ birthday. And keeping the guest of honor waiting is not allowed.
Celebrate each other now.