Friday, December 14, 2007

Beyond FAMILY: Homesick for the Holidays

Patry over at Simply Wait recently wrote a poignant post about homesickness. As usual, Patry struck a chord with many of her readers through this brief piece, especially with her reference to that favorite bedroom from childhood. You can picture yours, can’t you? The wallpaper or wall color; the pictures that hung on those walls; the books and toys and furniture; your window or windows and the constant, ever-changing views they offered of your corner of the world.

My bedroom was upstairs in the back of this house. My best friend Shelly lived two doors down and grew up to be an artist and an educator. Eight years ago she snuck over to take some photos of my mom and dad’s house, then went to work sketching this picture so I could give matted and framed prints to my parents and sibs that Christmas. It was so nice to hear of the surprise and appreciation that greeted these gifts, and it’s always fun to spot this picture perched on a shelf or hung on a wall whenever I visit my brothers’ or sisters’ or parents’ homes. My mom and dad moved their expanding brood into this beloved house in upstate New York when I was two. It’s changed a lot through years of much TLC, but its essence remains the same for me. “Home holds a place at the heart of memory for ourselves and those we love,” I wrote for this gift eight years ago. I still feel the same about the cherished concept of home, especially at the holidays.

This year will be the ninth Christmas I’ve spent away from my childhood home, and it’s a poignant one. My youngest sister will travel from Chicago with her new baby boy, another sister who’s expecting her first child in the spring will travel from Boston, my big sister will bring her sons when she comes by, one of whom just started a job with a major financial services firm in Manhattan (“My son’s a New York banker!” was his mother’s joyful reaction, lol!), another who’ll graduate from Syracuse University (my alma mater, woohoo!) in the spring, that sort of thing. And my parents will beam at one an all, appreciative as ever of the many blessings they count daily, even more appreciative than usual (if that’s possible) due to some medical surprises and treatments this past year that they’ve faced with their usual patience and strength.

Yes, I’m not the only sibling in my family who’ll miss being home come the long holiday weekends this year; yes, I’m always so happy not to have to travel each December; yes, we’ll have lots of extended family from my husband’s side here in Denver to celebrate with us; and yes, I LOVE that my children get to wake up Christmas morning in their own beds and run downstairs to see the presents under the tree adorned with a collection of unique, treasured ornaments; but after nine years there’s still a part of me that longs to be HOME home for the holidays, if you know what I mean. I have a feeling many of you do.


Blogger Lisa said...

I know exactly what you mean.

12:39 AM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

I knew you would, Lisa. K.

8:22 AM  
Blogger Moanna said...

I do too. I'd like to go back home for one night, walk into the kitchen with my mom there putting pie crust in a pan and hear my dad slam the back gate shut, scrape his shoes on the sidewalk so as to not track in sand onto my mom's waxed floors. That would be home.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Jen P said...

It's only been 3 years for me since I've been home. I do love not having to travel and having my own traditions and not fighting with my siblings, but something told me this year that i needed to go home (I think my sister is going to get engaged) and many of my family have not seen The Younger and he's 2 years old! And no one has seen The Elder since his diagnosis. But this year I'll be travelling back. It's a mixed bag feeling, I hate to admit...

11:55 AM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

Moanna, love that description! At my house they'll all be passing the baby around and hanging out in the kitchen, which will be full of coffee smells and cookies. You just reminded me to get a recipe from my mom. :)

Jen P, let us know how it goes! Your boys are going to be smothered in hugs the whole time, I'm sure. Hope you are too! K.

4:12 PM  
Blogger iyan and egusi soup: said...

hi karen,

a thoughtful post. thank you for coming by. i've been here from time to time, enjoyed your posts, but have been a bit shy to comment. i'm glad we've broken the ice. :)

8:39 PM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

Welcome, and thanks for your kind compliment! K.

9:17 PM  

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