Monday, December 22, 2014

On Being Home for the Holidays

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays,
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam,
When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze,
For the holidays, you can’t beat home, sweet home.
-"Home for the Holidays" by Perry Como

I am 33 years old, and I have never not spent Christmas with my family of origin in one way or another.  Charles can (pretty much) say the same.

Until now.

Clare was so excited to do the honors!

This year, things are going to be different. We live a long way from our families, and Charles is a resident. No, worse, he’s an intern. He’s working Christmas Day, beginning at the bright still dark hour of 6 am, and continuing . . . well, into the evening sometime.  Merry Christmas to us! (He’s on the OB floor at least, so delivering babies makes it better-ish.)

Honestly, things could be so much worse. You know you’re a resident family when the best Christmas present you receive is having your husband home . . . on Christmas Eve.  We’ll go to Mass and do most of our family celebrating that day. Santa will come as advertised, but we’ll feast and open presents over the course of a couple of days. We’re still working it out. Thank God for 12 days of Christmastide. (“We’re not accommodating Daddy’s schedule, we’re living liturgically!”)

In a lot of ways, it’s hard to wrap my mind around a quiet, different kind of Christmas. I could spend hours giving you detailed descriptions of my family’s Christmas traditions, and spend many more telling stories of things that happened one year or another. Growing up, Christmas was all kinds of a big deal.

But whenever my heart begins to ache for those family members and places and sights and sounds that I hold so dear; whenever I think about going home for the holidays, I look around. I see my two beautiful children. I see my amazing husband. I see this incredible life we are building together, and I know.

I am home.

So now is a time for new memories. New traditions.  On Thursday, we’ll celebrate and bake and read and play and eat and watch movies and sing songs and do our best to have the kind of Christmas that would make Grandma Roberta proud. My mom was the ultimate Christmas Elf.

That’s not to say that we won’t feel sadness that we aren’t closer to those people that we love; it’s saying that we are making the most of it. I’m not going to let a zip code steal the magic of Peter’s first Christmas or the even bigger magic of the first Christmas that Clare gets. And as those activities grow into traditions and the years fade into memories, I pray that our kids long to be home with us on the holidays, wherever we (and they) may be. 

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