Growing up, Run DMC’s yuletide classic is the only Christmas I knew. Until I was thirteen years old, I lived a ten minute walk away from Hollis Avenue and so did both my maternal and paternal grandparents. My parents, sister, and I moved twenty minutes away to Nassau County; but every December 25th we still spent Christmas in Hollis, Queens.
For the last two years, the focal point of Christmas has taken place at our home in Long Island. Ever since my grandmother passed away in 2014, everyone has come out to our house for dinner because our house is the one with the little children in it. While it tires me out, I am much more fond of being on the parent side of Christmas than the days of waking up and the day being all about me.
The peak of Christmas Day revolved around Cydney; but it more or less was about me. Cydney’s grandmother had been trying to contact me for the last two weeks inquiring about video-chatting with her grandchild. We would be going back and forth, I think once I tried to call to let them speak on the phone, and it just didn’t happen. It was my fault. I wasn’t doing it on purpose. December is just a very busy month because there’s just a lot to do and I’m working. We shot for Christmas Eve; but I dropped the ball because I was just running around all day.
For my new readers, I’m going to give a brief synopsis of my relationship with my Cydney’s grandparents. Late October/Early Noveber 2011, Timile (Cydney’s mother), Cydney, and I moved from Buffalo to Virginia so that Timile could spend what would be her final days with her parents. Three weeks into moving there, shit got really real in which my parents came down from New York to mediate and I came back home to get things together in order for Timile and our daughter to join me back up there. December 9th I found out Timile passed away via Twitter from a classmate and her parents never called me, I wasn’t invited to a funeral, and I wasn’t even told “Hey, come get your kid.” The last part of that conjunction didn’t happen because they were trying to get custody of Cydney citing that they didn’t know where her father was; which I found that out in a Virginia clerk’s office after four months of preliminary custody hearings in New York. After five months of my case being in two states, I finally got my daughter back, where visitation cases drew out for almost another two years.
One could understand why I wouldn’t want to have shit to do with them. The truth is that while many presume or assume that Timile’s passing has made me a jaded cynic, it’s everything that happened with her parents. However, the door is always open for them to call or visit. Cydney doesn’t hear from them for months at a time. They have never come to visit. I was being very generous by stopping by their house when I was in Virginia several months ago and I was told with the most sincerity “Don’t take so long to visit again,” or something like that in which I don’t feel like digging up old posts for the actual wording. The way that I feel is that this is their grandchild and they should be coming to see her. If they don’t because they’re apprehensive about dealing with me, that’s their problem…they wrote the ending to this movie. Yet, I have no regrets or hard feelings for them.
So anyways, Cydney Skype’d with her grandparents on Christmas Day. She was excited to speak with them and show them all of the toys Santa brought. Eventually, she got a little bored and wanted to go back to playing, so she handed me the phone. I told them Merry Christmas and we chatted very briefly. Cydney had gone off to roll around the house in her new scooter and I called her back to say goodbye and Merry Christmas one last time. As Cydney sat on my lap, I was looking at the window in which there was us and the other portion of the screen that was them, in which our common bond was this little girl whose mother we both loved dearly. Timile was their Cydney and I couldn’t imagine what I would feel like if my little girl was gone before I was. We smiled, said our final salutations, and I wasn’t sure if Cydney’s grandmother was speaking to her; but she said “I love you.” I responded “I love you, too.” Then there was the brief awkward pause with both of us just looking at each other because I was trying to figure out how to close the app.
Yep…that happened. While I may have brief flashes in my mind of Christmases in Hollis remembering the good ole days as a kid; I am appreciating Christmas much more as a parent.