Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Chaos For Christmas

When I was younger, Christmas seemed to be very ... consistent.

And it was, mostly. We usually stayed home. My grandparents only lived half and hour away, so we would have Christmas Eve and morning at home, and then go over there. (Sometimes slightly shuffled, but pretty much the same.) For a lot of years -- the first third of my life, really -- that was the way it was.

Then my grandparents moved and the chaos started. We still usually stayed home, but now the relatives that had stayed with them before stayed with us. In 1997 (I think), my aunt and uncle were visiting when their house was robbed; most of my memories of that Christmas involve playing with my two young cousins (5 and 3 at the time, if I have the year right) while their parents spent hours on the phone, sorting things out from 1,000 miles away.

A couple years later, everyone on my dad's side turned up for a Y2K bash. Eighteen-ish people slept under one roof, eventually.

The year after that, we went to Houston. (And raced a blizzard home, leading to all of our luggage -- previous riding on the top of the van in a carrier -- getting moved into the van itself.)

When I was in college, Christmas was all about going home and catching up with ... well, everyone. It was all about meeting up with high school friends and sharing holidays with boyfriends' families, right up until I graduated and it became a weird life limbo mixed with, "Will Mia Sorella make it home from Italy?"

And then.

In the seven years (holy cow) since college, we've had Christmases of separation, of delay, and maybe one of comparable boredom. We spent 2009 in three separate places, none of which were anyone's "official" residences at the time. Two years ago, we spent it waiting for Mia Sorella's plane to land. Last year was just my parents and me on Christmas Day. More than ever, Christmas has become a juggling match, like so many families where all the children are grown (even though until now none of us has had in-laws to visit).

And this year. Well.

This year, the 'rents are spending Christmas Eve in Sioux Falls, as usual. Shorty and I are spending it in Denver, not as usual. And all four of us are headed to our respective airports early Christmas morning so that by the end of Boxing Day we're all -- including Mia Sorella and Jay -- together in Seoul.

And then we get to have a wedding.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm incredibly excited about Christmas this year. As much as I miss some of our traditions, this is the kind of thing that will go down in the annals of family history as a Spectacular Event, and I don't just mean the wedding.

Plus Shorty and I are making sure certain traditions hold. Like cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Gotta have our priorities -- and maybe a little bit of calm familiarity in the midst of the craziness.

[Hey -- Mia Sorella, Shorty -- don't let me forget. I have an idea for the next gingerbread masterpiece...]

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