Monday, December 26, 2005

White Christmas. (Warning: long one!)

Some people who know me give me credit for being adventurous. I'm not afraid to uproot and start my life over with new careers, new locations and new friends. The truth is, I'm rather traditional. It was the knowledge that my home base would always be there that let me go off to Spain or New York or wherever. I knew that my home and my family would always be there waiting for me.This was my first Christmas, my first time home, since my home was destroyed. That concept of home "always waiting for me" was easily disspelled. But my family has been here for me like always before, and hopefully forever after.

Saturday, my flights were delayed and delayed and delayed. I was sick and stressed out and started crying when I called to tell my parents when to come to the airport. A stranger who passed me to board his flight said, "Merry Christmas, dear. I hope it gets better." I thanked him and laughed at how pitiful I'd apparently become.

I didn't get to Iowa until after midnight, I think.We went home and opened one present each. My one present was an iPod Shuffle (YAY!). The next morning we went to church. Everyone was so nice and supportive. Mom and Dad asked if I wanted to go the the farm. I said no, because I was not in the mood to cry, but we ended up going anyway because they'd promised J.B. a load of firewood.

As they tossed walnut logs from a destroyed tree into the bed of Dad's pretty new truck, I circled the shell of what was our house. It wasn't just the structural damage that made it a shell. It was that the house was empty and cold. Without us living there, it had shrunken somehow. Tears streamed down my face, but I wiped them away and stopped sobbing before I met up with my parents. As we drove away, past the razed hillside that used to be an orchard, my dad said, "See? That wasn't so traumatic, was it?" But my face fell. "Oh," he chuckled sadly, "maybe I spoke too soon." I couldn't stop the tears then, but they didn't last too long.

We sang along to carols as we drove to see my brother, J.B.; sister-in-law, Erika and my niece, Brooke. When we got there we all hugged. Brooke was shy for the first five minutes, but instead of trying to hold her, I got down on the floor and played with her. Thus, we were fast friends. We had a soup supper (a Christmas tradition in our family). We opened our presents. I loved mine, Mom and Dad seemed to love theirs. J.B. loved his Dukes of Hazzard boxed sets, Erika loved her stamps (she's very crafty) and Brooke seemed to dig the books I got her. She loves to read, and I loved reading to her. Erika estimated that I read Brooke 253 books.

The next day, I changed Brooke's clothes, played with her and read her "The Polar Express," which lulled her into a morning nap. Cuddling her was so wonderful. She's so smart, right at the age when she's constantly picking up the language used around her. Mom sang her a lullaby, and she tried to sing it back to Mom, which was the cutest thing I'd ever seen until we were driving away and I saw Brooke in the window saying "Bye-bye! Bye-bye!" until we pulled out of sight.

Then we went to Uncle Jay and Aunt Dea's house for another soup supper. (Good thing I love chili!) I got to see my first cousin-once-removed (I think) for the first time. Logan is just as cute as can be, and it was hard for me not to hold him, but I restrained myself due to this nasty cold. Megan (my cousin and Logan's mom) was quoting "Anchorman" and holding the DVD. "Oh," I said, "I got that for my boyfriend for Christmas." This resulted in an instant uproar by my cousins (Jenny and her husband, Sam; Megan and her husband, Josh).

"Woah, woah, woah, guys! Calm down. I did not mean to make a big announcement."

"Well," Jenny replied, you just did."

Then Mom piped up that you could see his picture on my blog. Soon it was being booted up. The cousins informed me that they'd been through it, and now it was my turn. "No, I'm fine," I replied. They laughed and informed me that they'd be watching for big announcements. Then Sam started his own blog.

Now admittedly, I've not had a real boyfriend since the '90s, and I rarely mentioned the guys I casually dated. As such, I can't blame them for getting all worked up. The truth is, my life is up in the air right now. I don't know how it will turn out, professionally, geographically or romantically. I try to just take everyone's interest as a show of love.

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