As I sat at my desk, popping a salted peanut into my mouth, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Holidays from my childhood. Mum gave me her bag of hard candy, peanuts and an orange, the other night. This combination of goodies reminds me of my father, specifically, my dad being happy with my mum. Then I started thinking about Dad, remembering Holiday Traditions with Dad.
Dad hardly ever verbally expressed his love for Mum, in front us (kids). I think I had heard him only a couple of times, during a ceremony, tell Mum that he loved her. The same thing with my Mum, toward my Dad. In my youth, I had only heard my parents tell me they love me, about a handful of times. I knew they loved me, no doubt. It’s just something that wasn’t expressed often in my house. If it was said, it was in a formal and somber setting (ceremony).
Back to the bag of goodies, both parents loved this combination of goodies (fruit, mixed nuts and hard candy), which was usually abundant during the Holidays. Dad’s favorite was a good mix of nuts – Brazilian, Acorn, Pecan, Peanut, Walnut, Almond and Cashew. I shared Dad’s absolute favorite nut – the Brazilian, which is also the hardest one to crack (if there was ever a metaphor…). And the hard candy with the chocolate or soft filling in the middle was the best. Even weeks after the New Year, Dad would have a bag stashed away somewhere in the house. Mum enjoyed this combination of goodies so much that one year, she bought enough candy, mixed nuts and fruit for the entire extended family (about 70-75 people). That was her Christmas gift to everyone.
Reflection in general-
I tell my kids (nieces and nephews) I love them, and often. We kiss and hug and snuggle (even the 21 year old niece). I give my 2 nieces kisses goodbye when I leave for work. I’m the ENFORCER (read: disciplinarian) for the family kids. This means I have to make an extra effort to demonstrate and reinforce my love, because I’m often the “bad” guy so the parents can be the good guys. I think it’s especially important for kids to hear that they are loved, even though they’ve heard it many times before. I’m glad to start a new tradition of expressing and demonstrating love, and not keep the old tradition of expressing love only during ceremonies.
Back to Mum-
Mum hasn’t given this combination of bagged goodies in a long time, not since Dad left this world 11 years ago. I’m certain she is also reminded of my Dad when she sees this bag of goodies. I randomly text my Mum that I love her. I think it’s still hard for her to say the words, but I feel it – like, when she gave me her bag of goodies. I also want to continue an old tradition- give a bag of goodies (all of Dad’s favorites), to each family member.