It is a new experience for me to have to forge my own way through the holidays. Last year was our first time spending both Thanksgiving and Christmas as a family of three. When you are used to being part of a family that’s fifteen to twenty strong I’m not going to lie — it’s tough. It’s a little lonely and empty and too quiet.
Visits home now are so very special because we don’t get to do it that often. But they are also very rushed and exhausting. It always involves a two and a half hour drive to Portland, stopping to drop Hank off at the farm. A night in a hotel and then an extremely early flight with over 12 hours of traveling time, at least half in the air. When we arrive we are fighting a three hour time change and a child who just doesn’t sleep much. We split our time between two families in two states and so two of those days are road travel.
I don’t expect a medal of honor and I don’t write this to make anyone feel bad or guilty. I just need to communicate that it isn’t easy, it takes a little sacrifice. We didn’t take a family vacation in 2010 and while we’d love to go some place together, right now we have a little girl that we want very much to get to know her family and feel surrounded by that unconditional love that we felt growing up.
Some family you are born with and will always cherish because of the history you share. That family is part of your deep down-ness. The innermost part that shapes the rest of you. Ryan and I were both lucky in this department. We have great families.
Some family you create on your own – day by day, piece by piece. And when you are in charge of building the sturdy foundation it can be scary. ‘Are we doing the right thing?’ can permeate every decision you make, big and small. We’ve had a lot of those questions in the past year, as all families do. But every once in awhile you get the reassurance that you are on the right path.
This Thanksgiving holiday, while another quiet one for us, left me as satisfied as the meal it is named after. It would have been nice to be with the rest of the people that we hold close to our hearts, but I learned that it can also be full with just us. And for that, I give thanks.