Friday, December 26, 2008
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
I'm one of those people who gets cabin fever easily. I don't like being cooped up in one place for long periods of time. Like a kid, I'm fidgety. Even when I go on a vacation to some far away land, I can't stay there for more than a week. Five days is perfect. Eight days is too long. Even with cool tropical drinks, a sandy beach and beautiful women, I can only take it for so long.
This is why my trip home to visit my parents over Christmas was so special. I didn't suffer from cabin fever. I was only there for three days, but there were so many things that were so right about that visit. Aside from the fact that I adore my parents, It was just nice to escape the urban trappings of the big city and bond and share with my folks.
Sure, they nagged me about smoking, losing weight and drinking but in the kind of way you expect parents who love you to do. They're always right, you know. This doesn't bother me, because it serves as a constant reminder that some of my habits are just plain bad for me. So, you're wondering, if the parents are giving you a hard time about this sort of thing, why would such a visit be so rewarding and endearing?
I'll give you an idea.
A glass of wine in the living room, watching Christmas specials with the parents and laughing about life.
The sounds of a flock of Canada geese squawking over my head, with nary a sound of a honking horn or car alarm.
A lunch at Olive Garden with my Mom, Dad and wacky, but lovable Uncle Jim.
Doing magic tricks for my niece and nephews at my Sister's house and sitting down to a slightly over-cooked, but still yummy ham dinner.
Cuddling and playing with the children's two new kittens.
Watching the kids open Christmas gifts.
Attending Christmas eve services at my Sister's church and listening to my nephew Jake explain how he hates to get up and sing in choir, while watching his younger sister joyfully belting out a carol with the other kids.
Driving around looking at the elaborate Christmas displays on local homes. This one guy coordinated music to a light show and broadcast it over a small FM transmitter to passing cars.
Talking to the old man in my parents neighborhood walking his Terrier named "Kelly girl." The guy's last name is Kelly.
Mom once again being a back seat driver to my Dad's somewhat erratic driving.
Getting Dad's advice about finances.
The wind howling through the trees behind my parents home, as the faint sound of passing Amish horse and buggy nearby echos through the neighborhood.
My Uncle Jim explaining in a very personal way how God has touched his life in a time of economic strife.
Glancing out the car window, my Dad wondering out loud whether it was safe to eat wild duck, as they sip from a polluted pond.
Watching Mom dress one of my sister's kids for Christmas eve services.
Mom making a pumpkin pie and Dad proudly serving up his homemade turkey soup.
Helping my Mom organize the photos on her computer.
Watching the big smile on Dad's face as he opened several gifts emblazoned with his favorite baseball team, the World Series winning Philadelphia Phillies.
These, I suppose are some of my favorite things about Christmas. When I was a child, it was all about opening the gifts under Christmas tree. It's not that way anymore. I enjoy the subtleties of the holiday, the precious time I spend with my family and the glow I feel when I sit down at this computer reminding myself about those three short days at home for the holidays.