Anyone who knows me, knows that I love Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday. I’m sure I’m not alone. Of course, Christmas brings up memories of those who are no longer here. However, I still love this time of year – and it’s not because of presents. I mean let’s face it at this point in my life, there really isn’t anything that I need or want. I just love this time of year because of the lights, the smells, food, libations (especially my mom’s homemade eggnog) and mostly spending time with family and getting together with friends old and new.
A few weeks back or so I had the pleasure of getting together with one of my sister friends who was in town for the weekend celebrating her birthday. This particular weekend I was busy entertaining some other friends who were also in town so I wasn’t able to connect with my friend until that Sunday. We were so excited to get together with some of our other friends because we were going to “turn up.” The plan was to have brunch first, hang out at the house of my girlfriend who was hosting brunch and then we were going to hit up a day party.
Now, typically I don’t get my party on if I got to go to work the next day, but for the birthday girl I would make the sacrifice. Plus, it was a day party, so we knew that we would be finished at least by 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. Well, once we all finished eating brunch, we just kept on talking and laughing and just enjoying ourselves. Then something happened that changed the atmosphere by just one phone call. One of my sister friends received a call about her father that got her pretty shaken up. After she got off the phone, the rest of us could visibly see that she was crying. She didn’t’ say anything to us. Instead she went off into another room and shut the door and started crying. The rest of us just looked at each other and tried to continue on with our regularly schedule program of funny conversations and laughter. However, you could tell that we all felt a bit uncomfortable because we felt helpless in that moment. We weren’t quite sure what to do for our friend. Once we realized that she was gone for a bit, the birthday girl went into the other room to comfort her. After some more time had passed, both of them came back into the kitchen where we were all congregated around the kitchen table. My friend begins to tell us that her father was sick and was dying. We all were stunned, and it took everything for all of us to hold back the tears as she was telling us her story. As I listened to her pour out her heart, I couldn’t really imagine what she was going through at this time. Instead, I just listened to let her know that I was there for support during this difficult time. In between the tears, each of us went around to the room to offer her words of comfort. For me, all I could do to really understand her is tell her what I went through when my father almost died about 3 years ago and what it was like to see his health decline within hours. It was a hard situation to grasp. This is something that my friend is dealing with- watching her strong father decline in health at a rapid pace. Another one of my girlfriends who has experienced a loss of a parent took the time to talk about what it was like dealing with the loss of her mother and what that did to her and how she has been dealing with it ever since. She even read from a personal note that she had saved on her phone that her mother sent her before she passed. It was beautiful.
In that moment as my friend was reading the note from her mother, I looked around the room. I couldn’t help but notice that I was surrounded by not only some beautiful women physically, but beautiful women spiritually. And to think that two of my sister friends were even grandmothers. Amazing!!!! As I looked around the table, I also noticed that I have known these women for at least half of my life.
As we continued to comfort our sister, I realized that this conversation was getting very heavy and I thought perhaps some libations were needed. I just so happened to have some spirits in the back of my trunk. Don’t ask me why…I just did. Side Note: I think I may need have mobile bar from now. You never know when spirits are needed.
I asked the crew did they want to partake, and I got a resounding YES PLEASE! I left the house and went to my car to get the goodies. When I got back into the house, my sister friends were in rare form. All you could hear is laughter behind the tears. We still had plans to go to the day party, but we thought we would be more comfortable having our libations and having “our say” in the family room. Once we got to the family room or should I call it the healing room, some of my other sister friends felt the need to share. One of my friends was going through a divorce and another one of my friends was dealing with a daughter dating a less than desirable young man. It was a lot. But we were in a safe space for sharing. We all felt comfortable enough to discuss our intimate thoughts and secrets with each other. We were the mirrors to each other’s souls. We were in a room that didn’t allow for judgment or ridicule.
So, what was supposed to be the “turn up” ended up being a “turn up” in a different way. We “turned up” for each other and to me that is what “turn up” is all about. And in that moment, I took the time to say thank you to my sisters for sharing their most intimate thoughts and feelings, because they didn’t have to do that.
So again, Christmas time for me, is not about the physical gifts, it’s about the gift of family and REAL, genuine friendship.