By Heather O.
This is what Christmas means to me:
Long plane ride–hooray we’re here! FUN FUN FUN with family, sledding (yes, we LIKE sledding, unlike some others), cold feet, “Mommy, I’m tired,” hot chocolate, FOOD, FOOD, FOOD, more family FUN, FUN, FUN, Christmas Eve full of family FUN, FUN, FUN, “Mommy, I’m tired”, Christmas morning, “Mommy, where are all MY presents?”, family FUN, FUN, FUN, and more FOOD, FOOD, FOOD, wow I have a food coma (is it possible to experience death by chocolate?) long plane ride, “Mommy, I’m tired and my ears hurt,” and finally we are home.
We spent Christmas, obviously, in Utah with both my and DH’s families. We love our families tremendously, so we brave the long lines (MIL: Oh, the Salt Lake airport won’t take too long–you sure you want to be there more than an hour early? ME: Wow, you really never fly at the holiday season, do you?) and the inevitable crankiness that go hand in hand with too much traveling, too much sugar, too much excitement and tired 3 year olds and have a great time. We split the holiday between both families, but stayed with my inlaws. Nate and I slept in the same room that he slept in for, oh, about 18 years, give or take a few years for a mission, etc. The house he grew up in looks different than it did when he lived there, but not THAT different. We pointed to the spot in his front yard where we used to flirt, the bench we sat on and talked for 4 hours before we decided we should get to know each other better, and the spot where he got up the nerve to kiss me for the first time. Lots of memories. It’s a good house.
I have no such house. I was born in California and moved to Utah when I was 11. I left home for college when I was 18, and haven’t been back, really. My parents have sold the house we lived in when I was in high school, and have since bought a house that has nothing but adult memories. Those are good, too, but there’s nothing like seeing places where major events happen in your youth, and remembering the lessons learned. Jacob also thinks that Santa always comes to Grandma’s house. Why would he think otherwise? The 4 Christmases he’s known have always begun there.
There is something kind of powerful in this house, this place where so much has taken place. Like I said, it doesn’t look exactly the same as it did when Nate was a kid, but it’s still the same place with the same people, and the same love.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about how I’ve lived my life. I’ve lived in lots of different places, seen a lot of different things, and met a lot of really wonderful people. But in so many ways, it’s nice at Christmas, a time when you want to feel snug and cozy and loved, to go back to a house that says, “Hey, I know you. Welcome home.”
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