I know what you’re thinking…
A Christmas story? In July? Little cliché isn’t it, Ev?
Well I’ve got news for you: 1. Deal with it. 2. It’s not what you think.
Melissa loves Christmas. A lot. It’s adorable really, but even now with the 100+ degree heat giving me a clear sign that Christmas is nowhere to be seen, I find myself exhausted just thinking about how excited she is going to be starting the day after Thanksgiving. I like Christmas enough, I’m no Scrooge, but I can’t keep up with her. Still, I’ve seen my share of “Christmas miracles” and this is the story of one of my all time favorites.
My dad and I formed a Christmas tradition for several years before we all left Florida. It was a pretty sweet tradition in which I would use my spiderman skills to get up on the roof to hang the Christmas lights and he would untangle the lights and yell at me if I was deviating from the correct light-hanging procedures. Seriously though, it worked out well because he was old enough to admit that he had no business running around on the roof of his house, and I was young enough to admit that running around a roof with a staple gun was pretty much awesome.
Melissa and I had our first Christmas as a couple in 2001, which was also her first time getting to enjoy the father and son light-hanging extravaganza. Things between Melissa and my dad were pretty tense early on, but it felt like there was hope for things to settle down.
Melissa, who made it very clear that she had no interest getting on the roof, set up a chair in the driveway so she could gaze at all my glorious splendor and get all giddy about the Christmas season. As my dad and I started to go through our normal routine of “discussion” on which direction the plugs should face and where the proper place was to “hide” the mountain of extension cord excess, Melissa simply sat sipping soda (thanks high school level alliteration skills).
Before long, I was up on the roof going through the fairly memorized routine and my dad, who had finished getting those last stubborn knots out of the lights, had taken a seat by Melissa to watch me and make sure I didn’t mess anything up.
It’s important to note that my dad had those icicle lights, the ones that hang down a little from the roof. Well, after a year in storage the lights had a tendency to not hang straight down and they also seemed to have grown into each other like some sort of electrical breed of ivy. So in addition to the hanging, I was also in charge of making sure the strands were clear of each other so that in time, gravity would do it’s job and we’d have that great icy look at the top of his house. In Florida. A state known for it’s rich history of icicles.
So as I’m inching my way across the roof, I get the familiar, “Hey” from my dad which was always followed by something I needed to fix. I was directed to two “icicles” that were wrapped up and I leaned off the side of the roof to fix it. As I got up to resume my fun-with-staple-guns session, Melissa chimed in with another set that needed straightened out. Then my dad spotted another error. Then Melissa. Till I was the human tennis ball in a match of “yell stuff at the guy on the roof!”
Let me be clear, I’m not upset by what transpired and this isn’t one of my stories to get some pity (but if you want to…that’s okay). What I saw when I looked down from the roof was, to me, the first real bonding my dad was having with the girl I knew I was going to marry someday. All the tension was giving way to laughter, and it was all because of me. I am some kind of amazing person. I think they have a good relationship now and I hope they feel that way as well, but for me that night was the start of it all. I guess sometimes to really win over a person, you just need to be willing to make fun of their son.
How’d you win over your in-laws?