The holidays. Such an exciting time with family and friends to all be together under one roof in a slower-paced, more relaxed environment. Although they can be crazy busy, the holidays bring out the kid in all of us, I believe. Managing the calendar of events during this season can be a part-time job, for some. It’s a time for babysitters to rake in the money, while parents spend the money! For many, the holidays kick off a busy travel season.
While there are positives and negatives to living in close proximity to family, many of us live a fair distance away giving us the opportunity to travel. We are one of many such families. Although we are a small family: mommy, daddy, son, and small dog, the cost for us to fly is prohibitive. So, we typically load up the van with all kinds of entertainment, snacks, clothes to suit any weather condition we might encounter, along with the small dog. Yes, we travel with our dog rather than pad the wallets of boarding facilities for days upon end. As we prepare to pull out of our driveway, we pray for good traveling weather, good health, safety on our journey and then we ‘hit the road, Jack!’, as my son likes to say.
Traveling can be fun and adventurous. To the contrary, it can also be stressful and taxing on the body. Excitement generally trumps any of the negative. Given the fact that long distance is typically the map for our journey, the atypical eating out, enjoying forbidden everyday treats, watching movies, and listening to music together as a family unites us and creates a plethora of memories. Lack of sleep, routine, and diet brings on crankiness and behavioral joy; yes, I chose the word “JOY” to be sarcastic. Or, as a friend once humored me, family fireworks is our mojo!
Being a guest in someone’s home, warmly welcomed and spoiled by home-cooked meals that I don’t have to plan and prepare, entertainment, and occasional outings is such a delight. It is a rare treat to not be in charge, nor a slave to the clock, the kitchen, or the schedule for a few days. Yet with all the perks of being a guest, it’s amazing to me how tired one can feel. It’s as if being in a routine energizes a person, surprisingly!
Astonishingly with all the excitement and anticipation of traveling to visit loved ones, even the youngest of children longs to be home for the holidays. I was quite shocked to hear my 6 yr old son excitedly proclaim how he couldn’t wait to set out cookies and milk for Santa on a particular table within OUR home on Christmas Eve. I quickly reminded him that we would be visiting with Grandma and Grandpa and would have to leave Santa’s treats out on THEIR table. Immediately my son’s countenance changed as he retorted, “but I want to be at MY house for Christmas!” I have to admit I was quite surprised to hear this from his mouth because he looks so forward to visiting family with all the fun and spoil it brings.
I realized from my son’s undeniable expressed desire to be home for Christmas that within all of us, home is a special, cherished, familiar, and safe place. Even in the midst of the busyness and stress of day to day living within the four walls we call home, it still remains the place we reserve to call Home. While I’m not quite sure if and how this may or may not affect our future plans for traveling over the holidays, it brought a smile to my face to hear my son proudly proclaim his love for our home. His home.