Family First

About two months ago, Ferron and I were invited by  a couple  to attend a traditional Christmas party at their home in late December. We accepted the invitation, even though we noted that it was scheduled for the same date as our son's twenty-third birthday. He would be home from college for an entire month. In the interim, I made sure to organize two gifts for a game that was going to be played at the party and discussed with Ferron what entertainment we would perform during "our turn". I was quite excited as I had never attended a traditional Christmas party before. The evening before the event I even called our hostess to confirm our attendance. All seemed like it was going to go as planned.

At our house we usually decorate the Christmas tree before Hasani's birthday. So I thought we were going to decorate it that night, just after I placed my confirmatory call. Then my teenaged daughter, Sharifa, informed me that she had a prior engagement, and had to leave home in the next half hour, but since she did not tell us in advance, we could go ahead and decorate the tree without her.

The boys flat out refused to do that, and decided that they would wait until the next day. I thought that we might be able to decorate the tree during the late afternoon, but then Ferron reminded me that he and our youngest, Kalonji, had to go to the Christmas concert rehearsal from 4:30 to 7:30 that next afternoon.  Our Christmas party was scheduled to start at 7pm. Things started to look tight.

In our family we traditionally celebrate birthdays together, but I figured our son, who  was turning twenty-three, just came home for the first time in almost one year, who also has a  driver's license and is covered on our car insurance would want to go out and about with his friends. So I was a bit surprised when he looked up at me later that evening and asked, "what are we going to do for my Birthday tomorrow?" Things started to look even tighter, and my party plans started to fade in the background, but  I still held out hope.

The next  morning, the office was jam packed. I was extremely busy attending to patients, and I even got a request for a house call to see an elderly invalid patient who lived in the next parish. I did not finish in office until 1pm, and by that time I felt drained. I had yet to do the house call.  I eventually  realized that I was not going to be able to attend my long anticipated traditional Christmas party and really have fun and enjoy it, because of so many extenuating circumstances.  Hasani's birthday to celebrate, the Christmas tree to decorate, my exhaustion and especially my guilt for wanting to go out on a date with my husband to an adults only party. So I called my hostess and explained my situation and my dismay. She was so supportive and understanding and I felt a bit better for making up my mind. Part of my stress was the limbo I was in, due to my mixed feelings and indecision.

After the house call,  I looked up recipes and planned my birthday menu, including baked salmon, wild rice pilaf, steamed spinach, and homemade chocolate cake and icing. Sharifa and I went to the store to pick up Smilo and icing sugar and three gifts. After a few hours on my feet, we ended up having a great birthday dinner and fun decorating the Christmas tree afterwards. I realized then that my secretary was right when while trying to console me , after I canceled my party plans, she said," there will always be parties to attend, but your kids won't stay kids forever." I agree, wholeheartedly, family first always.

Big birthday hug for Hasani before he blows out his candles.

Big birthday hug for Hasani before he blows out his candles.


The annual family gathering to decorate the Christmas tree. Malaika, , who is currently in Jamaica doing a 6 week artist residency was sorely missed.

The annual family gathering to decorate the Christmas tree. Malaika, , who is currently in Jamaica doing a 6 week artist residency was sorely missed.