Some of my friends and family were concerned that we would not be home for the holidays. A former co-worker’s kids even asked “how will they get Christmas cards!?” I had a feeling of sadness before the holidays thinking I would not see my family, but you know what? I ended up spending way more time with family over the last 7 weeks than I have in any normal year being “home.” Forty-two days to be exact!
Thanksgiving was spent with my mother in-law, her husband, and her parents in Stuart, FL, which was great! We smoked a turkey and ribs, and had a fabulous meal that gave us leftovers for days! After that, I was lucky enough to see my great uncles in Fort Lauderdale for a few days, grandparents in Port Orange, a little on our own in St Augustine and Jacksonville, then back to Stuart to see my in-laws again. My sister in-law Nikita, and Aunt Rose came for 8 days for Christmas too. We spent time decorating cookies, playing cards, watching Christmas movies, and co-planning meals. Many days together building memories, spending quality time, and having lots of laughs.
A few days after Christmas, my mother and great aunt Pat flew down to visit Stuart, Ft Lauderdale and Port Orange again. We spent a lot of time together going out for dinner and lunches, pool time, many home cooked meals, shopping, pampering and many laughs with drinks fireside. Back “home,” the holidays consisted of a few hours spent with family at a party, then when the party was over, everyone would leave. Back “home,” I might take advantage of a night or two at my mother’s for a family event, or just because, but 42 whole days with family in a year, never mind a 7 week span, has never happened when I lived in CT.
The wonderful part of traveling, I’m finding, is that when you want to see the ones you love, you can always travel to see them, which will result in spending more quality time. I discussed this with Tiago the other day, and we looked back to when we lived about 2 hours from our friends in NJ. Instead of spending one night for dinner with them on occasion, we made the time to spend long weekends with them, which we felt were more memorable and fun! The idea of being far from family is feeling less scary, as I know when I do see them, it will certainly be quality time spent. I look forward to the days when we settle down in our new home somewhere, and can invite the whole family to our place for the holidays, not so we can spend a few hours for Christmas dinner together, but so we can spend a week together building memories and new traditions.