Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Missing Home

Sometimes it seems a bit scary to be perfectly honest. Maybe it's because honesty makes you vulnerable. Perhaps it's because reading honesty is boring and the popular fabulous mommy blogger posts are more attractive. Well, good thing I am not a popular mommy blogger (Ha! So there). But you know what, I want to remember the real stuff. When I look back even 10 years from now, I want to remember how I really felt.

This holiday season has been difficult, I mean really difficult. Moving to the East Coast in August was exciting, so much that I didn't really notice the ping of emptiness that comes in the absence of family. Hey, I thought, I guess I am just one of those people that can just be a wonderer because I am lovin' this adventure. Then one day, I saw it. The Facebook post where there was a Christmas party. In the photo there was a beautiful table, decorated and complete with name plates. The little cousins opened their gifts, the adults were laughing in the photo, the house looked warm and inviting. That family was mine. My siblings, my nieces and nephews, and my sister's house which her and her husband finished building after I moved away. I was missing from the photo. My kids were not on the floor, excitedly opening gifts with their cousins, I was not sitting around singing or playing some crazy drum circle with my siblings. For the first time I felt really sad to be away from home on Christmas. It felt empty.

My family is a huge part of my own identity. Coming here is a massive shift for Sean and I and the kids. We are our own family, of course, and we are happy to be together. But my family (siblings/parents) is so important to me. I remember growing up in a home with 9 children. We didn't have much but we had each other (excuse the cliche). Christmases were spent together, filled with special traditions. We had an advent calendar which my mother filled with a daily assignment in December. The assignments were usually service or spiritually driven. Every year, we made treats and caroled to the firemen at our local fire station on Christmas Eve. Christmas tree decorating was a devotional where my mom would come up with some awesomely elaborate lesson on every set of ornaments and how they related to Christ's birth (she is amazing!). But don't be fooled, I had a bad attitude about sitting through it once I turned 15! My mom read us the Christmas Carol every year and cried at the end every time. I thought she was weird but now I totally cry at the end too and I've realized I'm equally as weird. We sang so many Christmas songs and the harmony part to Angels we Have Heard on High now holds a permanent spot in my long term memory. Grandma Jeannie always made us hand made gifts that are still my most prized possessions. Grandpa Dee always made amazing grandson gifts out of wood. Grandma Dotty was always so happy to have us over on Christmas too. I mostly remember the the hanging tinsel, I imagined icicles. I probably snuck at least 20 candy canes off the tree and stashed them in my pockets.

I think I am going to get through this. I am going to survive without my family for now, not because I want to, but because it is necessary. The kids are so excited about Christmas. I will make a Christmas dinner, we will stay up late on Christmas Eve, moving things around to make it look perfect. We will video the kids on Christmas morning. I will still sit in my jammies on Christmas and build legos or play a new board game. Things will be alright. Don't worry.

There is my honest bit of blogging. And I hope that my future self can read this and think, what a great memory that Christmas was.


Carin said...

Oh Hannah!!! It is hard! Family is great! And yours is awesome! But there is something special, even sacred, about those first few holidays that are yours and yours alone. Yes, those times of everyone together, just spending time doing nothing but the normal stuff, talking, hanging out, loving each other's children---happy to just be together, that won't be there this year. But magic is around the corner---because this year, you will create something new. This will be the beginning of the traditions that mean Christmas to your family. And pretty soon, in a not too distant future, you will be the grandparents deciding where to spend your holidays watching the traditions you began this year carried through to the next generation. Enjoy this special magic---the magic of today, even though the memories of previous year's holidays become bitter sweet. You are right, you will make it through. And then when you get to have those holidays and see everyone, you will appreciate them all the more! Merry Christmas to you and yours!! Love Carin

Melanye said...

I can totally relate friend! The Medley and Messerly parents did great jobs making some wonderful traditions and memories for us growing up! This will be our second year not going back to Utah for Christmas and it finally hit me a few days ago that we can use technology to still join in on some of the family festivities! One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the Christmas Eve program where my dad tells classic Christmas stories, we read scriptures, and sing songs. So this year we are going to video call in for the Christmas Eve program! That way we can have some of our own traditions and family time, but also feel like we are participating in our beloved traditions! Merry Christmas!!

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