For only the second time in sixty-one years, I spent the holidays away from North Carolina.The first time was when our kids were young and my dad took us all to Disney World for Christmas. It was strange being in the eighty degree weather in December, but we had a blast.
This year we spent the week of Christmas in New England. When we got there, there was a good bit of snow on the ground. By mid-week, the sun was shining and the temperatures reached the fifties. The day we left it was snowing once again.
I wanted things to have a holiday flavor, so we rented a house a few blocks away from where my daughter lives. I mailed our stockings and my favorite cranberry-scented candles, and bought a few things around town to decorate once we got there.
We had a wonderful time with my daughter's partner's family, and enjoyed the feeling of having young ones around once again. We ate heartily, opened presents, stuffed stockings with surprises.
But for the first time in sixty-one years I was not with my family. And I missed them terribly.
When my father died, we lost our center. His house was our holiday gathering place. The first year without him, we went there anyway. It snowed that year, unusual for Greensboro in December. The second and third year we came together at my house, our town being right in the middle for travelers from all directions. It felt like we might be finding our new way of being together.
In November, my husband and I became grandparents and the baby couldn't travel of course, so we and our other daughters chose to go to him. My sisters gathered at the coast and my brother and his family in Greensboro. My sister-in-law was home with one of her sons. We talked to everyone on the phone, but it didn't fill the void.
I loved our time in New England with the new baby and the snow, the beautiful countryside, and our new friends, but next year, just for a few days, I want us all back in NC. I want my whole family and my husband's family here at my house, opening presents, over-eating, laughing, catching up.
I'm looking forward to this most amazing year--2014--and will share some of my excitement in my next post. I hope this year you'll talk to me about what I write. You can post anonymously if you don't want to 'sign up' or you can post a comment on Facebook. You can email me or heaven forbid send me a letter! I like to hear from you.
It's a happy new year.