Wednesday, January 6, 2016

I know some other Wise Men (and Women)

Happy Three Kings' Day!

Did you know that in Puerto Rico they get this feast day off? It's a national holiday. They know the holidays to celebrate, in my opinion. I wish we Americans would catch on.

I love the Three Kings or Three Wise Men, as you may know them. It's a celebration for Gentiles; Christ is for us, too. I have nutcrackers and wooden statues and even a tapestry depicting them and their journey and gifts. And around this time of year I stuff myself with figs, dates and apricots and make exotic homemade breads spiced with saffron and cardamom for my family and sometimes camel gingerbread cookies, too.

Speaking of important gifts, last year I wished to write a Thanksgiving post and then, when that failed to happen, a New Year's Eve post thanking people for the gifts they gave me in that good old 2015 of yesteryear. Obviously the post never got written, and so here I am in 2016 making a correlation between the gifts of the Magi and the gifts others brought to me when I needed them.

On this theme I must thank my dad for writing a Three Wise Men post. He knows how much I love the Wise Men, how I make a point to mark this holiday each year, fascinated as I am by their journey and their commitment and their grace (though, honestly, I really don't know why I love them so much). I am also enthralled by Dad's journey, and it is a great treasure to me that an important part of it is now written here. But, really, I think he wrote it to cheer me up, a gift! A great gift of the Magi.

My lovely mother
And, Mama, thank you for that long talk on the phone when you let your youngest girl pour out all her fears and insecurities, patiently listened to me and then responded with encouragement and wisdom and love. You pulled me back with all your might from a mental and emotional black hole. I wish I lived closer to you, so that we could have those conversations over coffee or tea in some quaint little shop, but I'm grateful for what you have given me, and your loving and calming presence could touch anyone across thousands of miles.

And, hey, sisters! I haven't forgotten you. Vinca, Annie and Natalie, thank you. Thank you for reaching out to me over the phone and online when you found I was struggling with myself.

Readers, my sister Vinca has a very demanding job, but she still gave her time to me, investing in a long conversation where she gently but firmly corrected some harsh opinions I was harboring in my angst. My sister Annie was working two jobs last year but still made the time to come see me for a weekend and to call late one night - when she had plenty of paperwork that begged for her attention after a grueling day - to stand by me, so to speak, and make sure I was making progress in my OCdemon adventures. Natalie has two twin baby boys, but she contacted me via Facebook from across the pond and seemed to understand just exactly where I was at and how I was floundering as we messaged back and forth. Wow. I love you all immensely.

Big bro Nate in the British Museum

Natie, thanks for being my big brother and for all the great memories I carried back with me from the UK. Boy, I miss you, but that overdue visit was such a gift that I don't feel as far from you as I did before. I cannot wait to meet your sons!

Last but certainly never least, I thank my husband for standing by me throughout...everything, and for allowing me to chase wild horses in my writing, for shipping me off to London on a grand adventure for 10 days and, most importantly, for supporting me all these years at home with our children. It was a great gift to them and to me to have that time.

And thanks, kids, for all that you are.

Even when it drives me bonkers.

Because family, faith and love really are everything, the most powerful and enduring treasures we can enjoy and share.

So, now that I have given thanks at long last, let me conclude by wishing a very Happy Three Kings' Day to all of you reading. If you don't know much about this feast, well eat some chocolate cake! That's always a good plan. And may God bless you this new year.


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