Like many people, I didn't appreciate my grandparents until they were gone. I'd give anything in my life to have one more opportunity to hug them, spend time with them, listen to their interminable stories, hold their hands and just spend time with them. Unfortunately, I didn't take advantage of it and now it's too late.
I see my own children with their grandparents, and I want to tell them, Wait. Stop. Take the time to listen. And I tell them. And, being kids, they smile and nod and agree - and go their own ways. I do what I can to encourage the relationships, help them see the beauty and the good, and cross my fingers and make a wish on a star.
Because that's really all that one person can do.
One of the best things about the holiday season is the opportunity to see your loved ones, to spend time with those people who may live right around the corner but just not make it into your life all that often. To enjoy the quirks of your special relationship, to laugh at the funny stories, to sit and watch football and chuckle when Grandpa falls asleep AGAIN.
What makes your relationship special with your aunt? Is it the fact that you both are not so secret Dr. Who fans? Why are you close to your Nana? Did she take you shopping for books for your entire life and encourage a love of reading? Why is your wild and crazy cousin one of your most favorite people? Did he, once upon a time, spend hours building LEGOS with you? Is there someone special to you that you only see at the holidays?
Do you have a relative that you just won't be able to visit with this year? Write a note, send a card, give a phone call. Let him know how special he is to you. Share those memories that you have, laugh at the jokes, forgive the arguments. Make this holiday season the most special ever, don't let it pass you by in a flash. Take the time to let them know how you feel.
Who will you tell? What will you say, and how will you say it?