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.