In 12 days we will be visiting home for the first time. Initially I didn’t miss it. Everyone warned me that I would become the “friends and family” poster child for the phone company. Knowing how painful it would be to open that door, I never looked back. Embracing life in the UK, I was on a mission to show my kids the world. In the first ninety days our travels took us to Prague, Budapest, Tuscany, Rome, Paris, Zurich, Germany, and of course to the UK. The days whipped by quickly, and our hearts were full of sunshine and promise.
Ninety days later, I start each day by pulling open my shade, looking out to my back yard, and asking
“Where the hell did that sunshine go?”
Traditionally, the holidays bring out the best and worst. You want what you can’t have and you don’t want what you have. Last year after everyone left my house, I warned my family that there would never be another Christmas if they attempted to pull their Houdini acts. I looked around at the mess on the table, the floor full of paper scraps and scotch tape, and knew I didn’t have the energy for the folding chairs that needed to go down to the basement. I decided that I didn’t have it in me to spend another year listening to Aunt Ethel talk about her deteriorating health, and I didn’t want to spend another holiday working hard.
With not one tree in our little home here in the UK, I can’t wait to see my home which has been secretly decorated by our friends. I can’t wait to wrap gifts, and I can’t wait to see Aunt Ethel. Sometimes you don’t realize what you have until you don’t have it.
A Little Piece of Home
My mom calls me daily to ask what to get the kids for Christmas. Life has changed, I explain. They no longer yearn for the designer labels and the expensive toys. They don’t care about Uggs or clothes or X Boxes. They want Froot Loops, Mac and Cheese, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. They want time with the people they love, and most of all they want to see our dog, Jake. In the end they want a piece of home.
One of my girlfriends warned me that when my daughter gets home she will be a celebrity. All her buddies get together daily, and talk about what they will do with her when she returns. I explained how lonely she has been for them and how difficult it has been, going days without a friend texting while she asserts herself in a new community.
As a mother I want to do the right things for my children. It hasn’t been easy watching the pain that growth brings. You live for them, wanting nothing more than their happiness. In the long run, I know that I am giving them a gift and that they will never return to our hometown as the same person. Their world has gotten much larger. They have friends from places they cannot even pronounce. They have lived life in another continent. I feel good about all of this and mostly I feel good about reinforcing their value of love and friendship.
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