By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO
It was International Human Rights Day when I had to bid the greatest man in my life goodbye and on the following Saturday we – his sons, grandchildren and great grandson, friends and relatives – buried him in his garden with my mother and my younger brother.
I was also a son to him like the rest of my brothers for a long sometime … whenever he had to call us as a brood for dinner, to help load or unload the wagon, or to go to school, he always shouted out: “Boys! …” And I was part of that until I was at the age of crushes and dates, when he and my brothers, like me, would all turn nervous and fidgety while waiting for my date. After that first visit, my rowdy family of males teased and joked me about it so much that I had to run to my Mom for refuge and instead we also end up laughing at their antics.
He had to go just when “’Tis the season to be jolly, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la…” and of course, I’d remember Christmas celebrations when I was a kid. He was always at the helm and my brothers and I just followed and truly enjoyed ourselves. And so it was, too, with his grandchildren, except that he was older and slower, and they no longer could ride piggy-back with him like we did as kids.
Christmas is really for children. A time parents actually give to the children. It must be so, because the best Christmases I remember are those before I left high school, and with my kids when they were small. Now with my above-teenage children, they kiss you Merry Christmas, shove you a package with the greeting “See you tonight Ma!…” then run off to some Christmas party. One can only have time to pray that they be safe and sigh actually to one’s self, “Have a merry Christmas, bye-bye…” Then they’d only come home really by dawn. Now I know why and how my parents tried not to show that they were upset with me during my own younger days!
This Christmas, I am glad my grand nephew is home (he can’t run off yet) and I can play Grandma. But then, come to think of it, I have to compete with his grand dad and all his grand uncles who would be home too. And I wanted to really spoil him – a privilege only a grandparent can enjoy in this season. Yeah!
From my family and I to all great grandchildren, grandchildren, and children; grandmas and grandpas, moms and dads, uncles and aunts…
Merry Christmas to all!