Memories of Christmas past.

006There was a time Christmas meant going home. Growing up my father served in the military, so we lived far from family most of that time. But every holiday season we would travel home to visit family. I loved this time of gathering and coming together. With my father's side we were the only ones out of town, but with my mother's side 19 of us gathered in my grandparents house.

I know my memories play tricks on me. I don't know how it actually worked out timewise. What I remember is going to my father's side for Thanksgiving, and then my mother's side for Christmas, and staying weeks in both places. The grown up me knows this is not very possible, but the child inside thrills with delight whenever I think of it.

Up north we would have venison and duck on the table, and down south we would have turkey and sweet potatoes. Up north we would have bowls of olives, and down south we would share datenut loaf. Up north we would play in cabinets which became rockets taking us to other worlds. Down south we would wander the neighborhood and beach. Up north was filled with plays and down south was filled with cards. Two different places, but both filled with family and love, struggles and frustrations, laughter and joy.

Christmas is still about family to me, but I have learned that things aren't always as easy as you remember them. Not then nor now. So there is compromise, acceptance, and love even more. Instead of going home, home is here. Family is nearby, loved ones visit regularly, and the holidays are simply an extension of that. Now we wait for our oldest to return, walking through the door, when we will laugh, love, talk, struggle, watch movies, play games, and share time with one another.

Who knows how we will remember these days.

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