I forgave my dad for abandoning me and my twin.
This picture is of me and my identical twin. She is two minutes older than I. Do you know which is me?
Our mom made us those dresses. She often had our hair cut differently and did not dress us exactly alike because she wanted others to be able to tell us apart. Often she was the only one who could tell who was who. Most people had to look for the birth mark on my knee and then they knew which was me.
It's December, a time for reflecting on Christmas. A time of giving. A time of forgiveness.
You may see all the "perfect family" pictures and feel left out.
It's not fair to wonder what it's like to have a great family, or to have lost family members. There are so many different tragedies.
There is no such thing as a perfect family. Every seemingly perfect family has their share of tragedy under the surface.
I met my dad for the first time when I was 15 and in a foster home. We had very little contact after that.
I started running at about that time. I hated running. It wasn't me. I wasn't a natural.
I pushed through the beet red face phase and the sore muscles and the nasty shin splints.
My body adapted to running and it became my therapy and I went on to run marathons.
When I was a professional in my job and running marathons my dad had a chance to tell me he was proud of me even though he said he had nothing to do with who I became.
But that is not true. The circumstance helped form who I am.
Yesterday I wrote about the impostor syndrome, this was about the time I was feeling that, in the prime of my career at Hewlett Packard.
I think my running was a way of coping for me.
Who knows what else I could have done to self medicate if I didn't have running all those years? The running was a blessing too.
I had a chance to forgive my dad for abandoning me before he died. He had his own issues. He was merely surviving his own luggage.
Don't use your tragedy and pain to be an excuse to be mean and grumpy. Just smile and say something nice anyway. In your own words, whatever they are.
I have learned to smile and say Happy Holidays, or Merry Christmas, or Happy Hanukkah, or whatever the holiday is, even though it's sometimes not happy for me.
I make my own rules. I carry my own hurt beneath the surface. Let the others have their happy moments.
If you have a chance to forgive, give it and move on, especially if they ask for it. It doesn't always mean it's appropriate for them to be a part of your life, but it means you can get on with yours.
None of us gets a free pass, no matter how it might appear to you.
So, make it the best day ever anyway. Make your own rules.