Full of excitement I ran down my stairs almost tripping into our christmas tree. It stood tall and green with plastic strips that acted as leaves. The red and yellow feathery streamers were draped around it like a scarf. There were little bulbs that light up only on the top, left middle, and bottom right. Large delicate ornaments dangled on the branches by little silver hooks.
Perched on the top of the tree were 4 cards with all our names printed on them. Underneath were the presents for this year and a neck pillow I bought for myself that looked like a light purple racoon. There was also a pair of socks from my godfather as well as a bike my mom got me for 50 dollars.
“I’m going to ride this bike everywhere!!” Shouted my sister as she gets the same exact presents as me.
“Have fun. I probably won’t ride mine as much though.” I said touching my bike.
Every year we get less and less. Our family stops visiting to say hi, excuses roll off their tongues on the phone. There’s the “Oh, we’re full of plans today”, the “Sorry but we have things to do”, and the “I don’t think we can make it over in time.” The amount of money in our wallets gets smaller and smaller. I wonder what will happen when there’s none left. I sit on my sofa with a sigh and look around my livingroom. Something red catches my eye and I see this little picture.
In the picture, there is a bulky grass green chair in the middle of the floor. Behind it stands a large Christmas tree with ornaments, bulbs, and woolly streamers everywhere. This tree is fabulous, but only a small portion can be seen as the chair takes up almost all of the picture. In this big green chair is a man dressed up as Santa Claus. That red and white outfit with the bushy cotton on the edges of his coat with those white gloves. A beard, mustache, and long white hair covers most of his face.
Behind his small glasses are squinted eyes; the eyes that are so nearly closed that the color can’t be seen. A floppy hat sits slanted on his head, tilted to the left. In his lap sits a little baby girl not even one. She is held at the hip by his large hands with her on his left leg. Her face is all scrunched up as she cries loudly wanting her daddy. Her dark brown eyes are watery and leaking tears down her face. Her hands are raised in front of her chest with those tiny fingers stretching out as she begins to motion for her daddy to come pick her up.
“Smile for daddy! Smile big for your picture!” Says the women holding the camera with the flash off.
That’s the picture of my niece’s first Christmas. Then I start to think. Will my niece have to grow up in a family that can barely buy gifts or new clothes or even pay their bills? What will she be like when she’s older? What people will influence her? How do I help keep the horrible world we’re in from hurting her? Why can’t our world be a better place for the sake of our future generations?
I guess I can’t answer all of these questions now, but I feel that I have to. I want to be a happy family. A home that’s nice with people who love each other and won’t end up hurting or betraying them. And parent who can pay the bills, instead of buying action figures. Another person who will try to support me more instead of constantly trying to lower my confidence. Maybe siblings who will actually try to listen to me. Thing is, no one who isn’t in my family ever sees this. No one ever knows what goes on. The problems of a household stay within the walls but never go through. Some might say secrets of a family make them strong, but I never understood it. I think I’m starting to though.
One example was when I was home for New Year’s break. I was celebrating casually with my family like we do every year, watching random shows on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. My dad was sleeping and my mom was cooking some food. Laughing with my sister as we pull out 3 glasses to drink from until I get a call from my boyfriend. Things never go right if a person you’re with says; “We need to talk.” It can only get worse from there.
“I don’t think we should be together for awhile.” He said calmly like it was no big deal.
“Why??” I asked upset.
“I need a break from you. From us. Just go date some other guy for now. Night, my love.”
How could he just end it like that? Why now? Why is he always walking out on me? Why did it have to be tonight? What am I doing wrong?
I flopped down onto the sofa and tried to calm myself quickly. I wiped my eyes so the tears wouldn’t spill over down my cheeks. My heart was racing and aching in my chest repeatedly as the sound rung in my ears loudly. Trying to wrap my brain around what just happened my hands started shaking more than usual.
“Hey, come finish pouring the drinks!” My sister yelled from the kitchen.
“I...I’ll be there in a minute!” I shouted trying to make my voice sound normal.
I got up off the sofa wiping away the last of my tears and clearing my throat. I was trying to make my face look calm, as I walked into the kitchen to fill up three glasses with apple cider. I couldn’t let anyone notice how upset I was. I didn’t want to ruin this event for my family.
I stood with my sister and mother in the living room, we were holding our glasses. We turned up the volume on the television and smiled happily at each other.
“5! 4! 3! 2! 1! Happy New Years!!!!” We shouted in sync and drank from our glasses.
Maybe a family can be strong without secrets. Maybe a family can bond if there’s no lies between them. A break up, a fight, a stressful project, or a hard day at work. Instead of keeping it in maybe we should just sit down and share it. If you smile no one knows your sadness and there’s always a frown behind a smile. Maybe I’ll try to communicate. Sometimes communication is the key.