Holiday Reflection: A Reminder of What Really Matters

The trader puts everything in perspective.
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We have been very lucky this year. But let's keep business in perspective. That's what I want to reprise a piece, written in March 1997, about when I didn't. But, like George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life, I got another chance to do the right thing. Happy holidays.

All hell broke loose for me yesterday. I had so many crises going on that I could barely keep track of them. It is always difficult for me when I am out of the office. But yesterday I had to be at the office, at

CNBC

, for Squawk Box, at the Spy Bar to film a commercial for

TheStreet.com

, monitor my stocks -- all of which were going down -- and get this piece out.

At 2 p.m. I was juggling two cell phones and my personal computer, while a woman put makeup on my face and a guy tied a tie around my neck. Suddenly, Jeff, my partner, says "call your wife at home, there's a problem."

I call, and sure enough our daughter is sick and has to be rushed to the hospital. Dehydration.

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I say to my wife that I'd love to help out but I've got 30 people waiting on me at the commercial site, and two companies begging for me to do several things at once.

She says, okay. Do what you have to do. And I hang up.

And then it hits me. On Monday Bill Griffeth, the excellent anchor on

CNBC

, said he couldn't get the story about the

Luby's

chairman killing himself out of his head. Griffeth is usually so jocular and funny that we all stop and listen at my shop for his 1:55 p.m. droll lesson of the day. But that day he talked about how important it was to remember that even if business is going poorly, it's just business. It will come back. It will sort itself out. And if it doesn't there will be another opportunity. But family, life - now that's real.

I picked up the phone and called my wife back. I said I am stopping the shoot right now no matter how much it costs, jumping into my car and I will be there immediately.

Twenty minutes later I walked into the hospital and I could hear my daughter crying for her daddy all the way down the hall. I rushed in and she said, "Daddy, these people put this thing in my arm and it hurts, why didn't you stop them?" I explained to her that it was an IV, and she needed the energy from it.

But, Daddy, she asked, "Why didn't you get here sooner?"

I took a deep breath and said, "I got here as soon as I could." And for a moment, in all the turmoil, I felt good. I hadn't lied. I had gotten there as fast as I could.

Now it's 5:34 a.m. My daughter slept well and is doing better already. I'm looking at my screens. I'll make it back. Things will be fine.

I did the right thing. Thanks Bill.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at

jjcletters@thestreet.com.