Because I did a lot of thinking about it last week, I'm going to be writing a bit more about being away from home. It's taken me a couple years to start to understand how I feel about it.
Maybe some of you didn't have the same reaction I did to moving away. I grew up in a family where almost everyone lives within 30 miles of each other. One of my cousins moved a couple hours away for college and stayed there, but I'm the only one of my family members to be a plane ride away from home. I can't make it to get-togethers, sports games, or special occasions. And I regularly feel guilty about it.
At the same time, in the three holiday seasons that E and I have been engaged or married, we've spent them all in Chicago with my family. Mostly because E's extended family isn't very close, emotionally or geographically, and my family is.
This year we booked a cruise for later in the winter, and knew there would be no way to also fly out to Chicago. Besides, E hasn't been home with his family for Christmas day in three years, and I never have celebrated Christmas day with them.
I am already feeling sad over not going back home this year. My extended family also has a guilt-inducing tendency - even though it's all in jest. I always knew the day would come when new families would be established and the extended family would naturally start to drift apart. I just didn't think I'd be contributing to it! For some reason, it is just now (over two years after I moved) feeling like its time to stop worrying about being gone. There is a lot I'll miss, but also a lot to remember.
Plus, this is the perfect opportunity to start thinking about traditions we want for our family holidays. E had resisted a Christmas tree the last two years, with the excuse that we'll be out of town on Christmas day...so this is my year to convince him. Last year we felt really overwhelmed at the prospect of buying each other gifts so we procrastinated and ended up with unwrapped Amazon packages and empty stockings. We decided that the next year would be different.
We'll make a big dinner together on Christmas Eve for just the two of us. We'll buy affordable, thoughtful gifts and spend lots of quality time together. We'll talk about new family traditions and maybe implement a few.
It will be different, but I'm actually really looking forward to our Christmas.
(ps. It feels a bit weird for me to be writing about Christmas today. It is 100 degrees!)