Thursday, December 25, 2008

For Those Who Can't Go Home For Christmas

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Today is Christmas.  This is Houston, so the weather is weird.  Its too warm for sweats, too cool for shorts (at least for me).  I was outside, talking to my neighbors.  Turns out their Dad is not home this Christmas.  He went to see his parents.  He had been here for more than a decade without documents.  He and his wife persisted for years to regularize his status.  There were all sorts of complications.  He needed all his IRS reports (w2 forms) for those years to prove he had paid taxes.  Some of the reports were missing.  He couldn't find his former employer who would have had copies.  Meanwhile, the lawyer just charged more and more.  But my neighbor is a really hard worker.  He has a regular job, but also cuts lawns for businesses on the weekends.  Sometimes his wife goes to help, even though she also has another job during the week.

The day after Hurricane Ike, none of us had electricity.  So most of us were sitting on our porches (we live in an old neighborhood, and most of the houses have a front porch).  I went over to visit them.  He smiled and told me, I'm going to Mexico.  I asked what happened and he told me that had finally been regularized.  He had such a big smile on his face.  He hadn't seen his parents in over 10 years.  

So today when his daughter in law told me that he was gone for two weeks, I could just imagine how he felt being in his first home again.  Sure, Houston is his home now.  He has a wife and family.  But his parents are still back there.  

It's just a reminder for those of us that grit our teeth at Christmas when we go see our parents.  Not everyone is so lucky to have the option "to go back."  I'm glad my neighbor Tomas finally went home again.  Even though, I must say, we all miss him when he is not around.  

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