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That’s Why They Call It Tradition

November 30, 2009 Family, Fear 1 Comment

I did it. I succumbed.

I am going home for Christmas. Well, let me stop right there. “Home” to Iowa. As long as my parents live in that house that is in that town, I will always consider it home. I love my house/life/home here, but when I’m talking about the holidays, that means Lenox, Iowa – population 1,300.

This will be the 35th year that I will be enjoying holiday cheer with my nuclear family. I’ve lived in California for almost six years now, and I’ve “threatened” to not go home for a couple of years. It’s too expensive. I can’t get the time off. I don’t even believe in the purpose of this holiday. And yet each year, I succumb. Why?

I like tradition. It’s what I’ve always done. It’s what I know. And despite at least 47 sub-par Hollywood comedies demonstrating typical family mishaps, calamities, and reasons to Just Say No to holiday get-togethers — I enjoy it!

Whew! That may have been a real break-through.

Sure, we’ve had our issues — I am a descendant from a long line of martyrs — but we’re all able to raise our glasses and put these things behind us as we gather around the table to tell and retell stories, entertain and be entertained by my (one-and-only) niece Lauren, and appreciate the time we’ve taken for each other. These are the things that are special to me. It isn’t the gifts. It isn’t the snow on the ground. It’s looking around at these people who have seen me at my best and my worst and still make a conscious decision to accept and love me (yes, that’s a picture of me one-crutching-it in order to be able to schlep my bottle + glass of wine with me while my brother stands idly by). This is family.

I know my family will still accept me if I don’t make it home for Christmas one year. But as the dates ticked by on the calendar, I admit that I found myself getting nervous. I found myself picturing what I would be doing if I stayed here in California this year. Greg is not a holiday person. Not a tradition person. Not a sentimental person. I began to fear (there’s that word again!) what my Christmas would be like this year. If he looked at it as “just another day,” would I resent him? Would we argue about it? Would I regret having not gone home?


Well, that decided it. With both of my parents offering to pay for my ticket and time to kill, how could I justify NOT going? Plus, Greg and I do well with a little time apart. When I found the fare last night and called my mom, I felt this amazing relief to know that I had done the right thing to make her and Dad happy… and to make me happy. It felt good knowing I had a ticket home in my hand.

My only fear now is that I’m delayed on my return trip. Stay tuned!


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  1. Molly says:

    UPDATE: The trip home was very nice. I spent Friday-Tuesday in Kansas City, then drove to my parents’ house in Lenox. I saw many friends and got to spend a lot of time with my family without any issues or confrontations. A success all around!

    Related to my earlier fears, a winter storm did move through the area, threatening to keep me there an extra day or two. In fact, the Kansas City airport closed on Thursday evening because of the freezing rain and snow. My dad braved the icy roads and blowing snow to get me to the airport on-time on Friday afternoon. I made it back to California with no delays. Merry Christmas!

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