Beyond FAMILY: Homesick for the Holidays
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.