Thursday, November 12, 2015

Growing up in a Family of Holiday Workers



My husband and I aren't going to get to visit family for Thanksgiving.  To be honest, it's not that big of a deal to me.  Thanksgiving never really was much of a holiday for us.  When I was eight years old, that was the last time my family celebrated.  My mother invited her mom, step-dad, and my dad's mother and step-dad for Thanksgiving.  Dad was the 1970s equivalent of a 911 dispatcher, and he worked nights, but by day he was a volunteer EMT.
Just as we were sitting down to dinner, Dad's huge red pager went off "beep, beep, beep, beep Emergency Run."  Dad sprinted from the table and saved someone's life.  He received an award for that.  Mom's gravy congealed as she waited on him to return from the call.  The fact that everyone was there but Dad wasn't pretty much meant that Mom didn't want a repeat the next year and Thanksgiving dinner became a memory of the past.

I became used to waiting on Dad to come home from work to be able to open gifts from Santa Claus -- or from my parents.  I can remember sitting in the living room on Christmas morning staring at our clock for what seemed like hours (and one year it was!)

When I was a teenager, Mom took a job at a nursing home.  Thankfully we always celebrated on Christmas eve, and so with everyone else wanting off on Christmas Day, they were happy to work the 24th for her if she would work the 25th.  Otherwise, it would have been trying to coordinate Mom's schedule with Dad's -- and with my uncle's who worked for the state road as a snowplow driver.

Now I'm married to a man who works at a convenience store / gas station / fast food place.  Guess who is often scheduled on holidays.  (Unlike with Mom and Dad, he gets time and a half.)  I mean, people travel on holidays so gas stations need to be open on Christmas.

I think in most families no one takes a second thought about those who work on holidays.  In my family, it was always a consideration as to when to plan celebrations.

This holiday season, remember those who work to keep you (or in the case of a nursing home) your loved ones safe, keep you on the road, and other needed workers.  I assure you, they wish they were home with their families, but they have accepted working on holidays as part of their job.

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