Yep, you saw that right...4 days, at least until Christmas with my family. It was decided long before anyone knew I was pregnant (ok, I knew, but hadn't even told Jason yet) that we were going to celebrate Christmas together at Thanksgiving. My brother and family who are now finally within driving distance, had other plans for actual Christmas and said they'd be heading up to visit during Thanksgiving. My clever mind suggested "Hey, why not just do Christmas then?" So with a little discussion with my parents and other siblings, we decided a 4 day weekend with 2 holidays would be the perfect way for us to be together as a family. Now that I'm 4 weeks away from my due date, I couldn't be happier that we're doing it this weekend when I can actually enjoy everyone.
A little back history about my family and why this was such an easy decision to make. I can count on one hand how many times my entire family has been together for Christmas in the last 20 years. Of those few times, I think it actually landed ON Christmas once, and that was some stroke of luck. When I was 11, my oldest sister got married and started a family of her own. During that time, my brother was heading into the military and would spend the next 20 years traveling all over. I rarely got to see him as it was, let alone for Christmas. Yes, we had the occasional surprise appearance by him, but for the most part, it was just celebrating through the mail and over the phone. A year or two later, my other sister got married and moved out of state.
As families grow and move further apart, it really makes it difficult to get together. I've grown up with the fact that I don't always get to see my siblings and I cherish every possible moment that I do. So as far as Christmas goes, we've never really been a family that has to have it at a specific place or on a particular day. For us, Christmas is about getting together with the people we love, being thankful that we get to spend that time with them and just basically enjoy each other and all the awesome food. It's not about the gifts (although that may not be what the little one's think), it's not about where or when we have it, it's about wanting to be together no matter what it takes. So, this year we're having Thanksgiving on Thursday and Christmas on Saturday. We may not have snow but our houses will be decorated and filled with those that are important to us.
This year will be the 2nd year in a row....IN A ROW... that "us kids" will be together for Christmas. It just amazes me that we can actually say that. I honestly don't know how to contain myself. Unfortunately, it may be a long gap before this happens again. With the possibility of my brother moving very soon, this may not happen as easily next year. But then again, it just may be the time that we all need to fly out to them. We never know what the future holds for each of us, so I am going to soak up every ounce of these 4 days.
What am I looking forward to? Sitting in the same room as my 2 sisters and brother and visiting. I honestly don't have many memories as a child. That is a long story that I won't get into here, BUT pretty much up to my Junior year of High School I have no memory of my life growing up. There are a few things here and there, but I honestly can't say for sure if it's MY memories or just what I've been told happened. Even the few years after that and until I turned 20 it's pretty fuzzy. So, I make new memories. I don't recall much what it was like to grow up with 3 older brother and sisters. There was a large age gap so I'm sure I pretty much tagged along from behind. What I do know, is now that we're all older, I have great (and different) relationships with each of them. I honestly wouldn't trade that for the thousands of memories that I could have from my childhood. We are such a laid back family and our most cherished times are when we have nothing planned out. Just being able to talk to them in person is enough to make us happy. I constantly hear my parents bring up "the best vacation" we ever had. Back in 2000, we all went to Arizona for my brother's ceremony for becoming an Officer. There was no definite plans, we all went and did whatever we felt like at the time and the day usually ended with us all hanging out by the pool. It was perfect.
So that's us. Our family. Very little drama and fighting and a whole lotta love for one another.
This year as we're celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas all in one, we have so much to be Thankful for. We have 4 days to spend laughing, talking, hugging, loving, playing and cherishing one another. What more could you ask for? Ok, maybe Grandbaby #11 on the outside of my belly for everyone to fawn over, but I'll settle for the fat jokes for now.
To my family - my wonderful family - I'm so blessed to have you all in my life. I am ever so thankful that my kids will get to know you and love you as much as I do. Ok, enough with the sappy crap on to the yummy food. See you in a couple days!!!