I’ll be home for Christmas

“Home” has been a bit of anomaly for me since I moved to college. For so many years, I thought of home simply as a house—specifically, the one I lived in from the time I was six months old. My parents and sister were there, I knew every creak and cranny, and the sounds and appointments were perfectly familiar and most welcoming. The structure itself, and more importantly my part in it, defined me. When that house ceased to be, I mourned for it, and I mourned for what I was sure was loss of home.

In reality, I had many homes, starting with the new place Bryan and I were making for ourselves in a spacious and bright apartment in Lincoln. And, when we tired of that, his parents welcomed us at a moment’s notice, heating up the grill and pouring red wine on the deck. A stone’s throw away, my grandparents’ warm and comfortable house—which I’ve known my entire life—still feels like my own, as does their cabin in Minnesota. I know I am always welcome at my dad’s and grandpa’s.

And, of course, my mom’s house will always be home—especially her house on the lake, where my kids play with the toys that once belonged to me, and I sleep soundly in a room surrounded by furniture I remember from my childhood.

When Bryan and I bought our first house in Madison, I promised myself I would remember that it was just a structure, and what really mattered would exist outside of it’s small but comforting walls. When we moved, I cried not for the home we were leaving, but for the friends that had become family. That was, I suppose, another important but painful lesson in all of this.

And now while comfortable here in Kansas, we still seem like satellites in orbit a distance from what we truly believe is home. And so, we travel. For more than a decade, we’ve left our house and traveled to be with our family before Christmas. And, I suppose, that is what makes our home feel somewhat temporary. This year, though, we had Christmas at home, at our house. My parents and grandparents traveled to us for Christmas Eve, and Bryan’s parents graciously arranged their celebrations to accommodate our mid-day arrival in Nebraska on Christmas Day.

It was wonderful. I loved cooking for my family and hosting them here, in my own home. I took extra care in decorating, and I served dinner on our wedding china. My kids came down our staircase on Christmas morning, and Santa—grateful for the direct delivery—made the most of the change and left presents not restricted by size. (More on that soon.)

But on reflection, what made this particular holiday seem right was not the venue, it was the company. Really, this is something that should have been apparent to me last year: After snow delayed traditions and plans for a few days, our celebrations, while not on the prescribed day, still seemed like “Christmas.” The location and date matter not as long as you’re accompanied by the people you love.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by jsmith425 on January 5, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I really enjoyed this post Rebecca. Although I selfishly hope your current home does end up just being a satellite, I’m glad you got to experience your first mom Christmas. I guess that is how I would describe it. I am pretty sure I will never wake up at my house on Xmas morning and I’m equally sure I would never want to wake anywhere else.

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