IF YOU'RE MISSING YOUR FAMILY FOR CHRISTMAS, YOU'RE NOT ALONE
Instagram can suck. Facebook can suck. I mean, overall, you know I love these platforms, but when you’re drinking your 3rd cup of coffee on a cold Tennessee morning and you’re scrolling and you see Mom saying “Can’t wait for tonight!” on your sister’s Facebook feed and you start to cry a heavy cry, perhaps it’s Facebook sucking, or your monthly hormones reacting, or perhaps it’s simply because you’re sad. Because you’re missing Christmas with your family. You’re not alone. I’m right there with you sister.
I moved to Europe when I was 27 with my ex-European fiánce. (If you don't know that story, scroll through a few blogs back and all will be explained). I distinctly remember saying to him, "what about Christmas in California with my family? He was like, well, we’ll be here in Scotland, we can go back after the holiday." I was like, no. But surely enough, we were in Scotland for Christmas and the next day my parents showed up. (Side note, he and I didn't work out, duh.)
Christmas wasn’t the same, but having Mom and Dad show up the next day was a close second.
This Christmas marks the 8th Christmas in a row that I have not been “home” for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, since moving here to Tennessee.
All my siblings and my parents live in California. They live within a 5 mile radius of each other. They will be at my Mom’s or sister's house Christmas Eve and my brother’s Christmas morning. The traditions are all over the place, flooding the house with Christmas Hawaiian cheer. The kids are running around like a scene out of 'Home Alone'. The wrapping paper covers the floor and you can’t find anything you just opened. The coffee is hot, the wine is red, the music is the eagles and it's played on 3 guitars by Dad, Aaron and Kevin, and the smiles reach a distance even you can’t calculate in your own hand. It permeates throughout the neighborhood like a wildfire. It’s glorious and love filled, noisy and messy, emotional and warm hearted and everything you want Christmas to look like. It’s my family.
But here’s the reality. I was the one to move away from home, only to never return permanently. I was the one to move 2000 miles away and stay 2000 miles away. I was the one who planted my roots firmly in Nashville, TN where I met my husband, got pregnant with my babies, and built a home. I am the one now building traditions with my own little family and this year we are again staying put. Last year I had newborn twin babies and the family surprised me and everyone came to TN. That hasn't ever happened in the 10 years I've lived here. It was magic. Magic.
And I must admit, after the last episode of NBC's ‘This is Us’, I lost it once again and am having slight regret for not buying a plane ticket this year.
But you see, I have a family of 6. And I have 16 month old twins. And this year, even going early in December (which we usually do), it was too complicated and too difficult to render. So we opted to stay home. And yes, I’m sad.
Sad because this is life. Not sad that I have a life to live, sad that the years are going fast and the memories keep being made without us when we’re not in California.
Sad because I love them so fiercely and the joy it brings to my heart and my life when I’m home in California in December, is irreplaceable.
Sad because it is different this Christmas.
Sad because my parents are getting older and I can’t even handle that.
Sad that I’m crying tears days before Christmas because I can’t have Christmas with them.
I know you are probably missing your family this Christmas too. And I know it sucks. Let’s hug it out. It’s hard. Maybe this subject to some, is trivial. And to others it’s everything. We are the others. We are sad. And it’s ok. We’ll get through it together.
Here’s a few things I’m doing to settle the fire in my heart and create happy this Christmas:
*Creating new traditions.
*Inviting my “FR-AMILY” over on Christmas Eve. (more on that term later)
*Drinking all the wine.
*Wearing my Christmas earrings my mom gave me because it makes me smile knowing she’d be wearing hers. And they’re awful.
*Drinking all the wine.
*Face-timing the family on Christmas Eve.
*Face-timing the family on Christmas Day.
*Watching all the children beam the Christmas spirit.
*Watching our children closely as they come down the stairs to find Santa left presents around the tree.
*Document those faces so you can remember that “this Christmas” was ours and it was special.
*Enjoy Christmas through the lens of the someone you are, the someone with a grateful heart.
*Be thankful for all the Christmas’ you had growing up in California.
*Be hopeful one day you can bring your family of 6 to California and wake up on Christmas morning.
*Relish in the season of Christmas and be grateful for your family.
I know it can be hard. I know you can really miss someone, a person, or a whole family, but that’s why I’m grateful for the seasons of our life and the memories we create. Because if we didn’t have those to look back on, that wouldn’t be life. It's Christmas, let's love, let's create memories, let's celebrate. Merry Merry.