Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Holidays, however many families you have to split your time between.

It is both a blessing and a curse for your significant other to be from the same area as yourself. E and I met working a summer job in college (a job which deserves a post all its own in the future), when we were each living at home about 20 minutes away from the other. He went to college about 45 minutes away, so luckily we were never so far away from each other that we couldn't hop in the car in case of emergency or boredom or anything else, really. When we both lived at home after we graduated, it was again a good thing to be close together.

The interesting moments come now that we're: a) in a serious relationship; and b) living elsewhere -- as in, 2-hours-away elsewhere. We come back home for holidays and other Big Goings On, and then we usually begin whirlwind days of each visiting our own and the other's families and friends, driving a lot (which is strange when you're used to getting on trains that magically deposit you where you need to be every day), and usually disappointing some friend or family member or the other.  This Thanksgiving, we did 2 hour shifts. Breakfast at E's dad's, then 2 hours at E's mom's, after which E stayed at his mom's and I went to my aunt's, and 2 hours later E joined me at my aunt's for dessert. It did the job and we fulfilled all of our familial obligations, but at the end of the day we were both completely exhausted.

Because our families live close together, we are able to see everyone for the holidays. However, it also means that we have completely full schedules and spend the duration of our time at home dashing frantically from one gathering to another. We're heading back home to New York tomorrow, but in the last 3 days I have done Christmas Eve with my family (+E) at one sister's, Christmas morning at my mom's, then Christmas Day at another sister's house in Massachusetts, breakfast with a former coworker this morning in Connecticut again, then belated Christmas at E's mom's house. Tomorrow morning I'll be up early for breakfast with another sister who we didn't get to see at Christmas Eve, and then possibly visiting with a friend and her baby who are passing through town.  E and I are going to pass out on the couch together (and with our kitty!) as soon as we get back inside our apartment. I almost wish our families lived far enough apart that we simply had to choose one family to visit each holiday, because it might make things easier on us.

All that being said, it has been wonderful spending time with so many people we love in so short a time. These are our first holidays together since we've gotten engaged, and although it sounds corny, we've grown a lot as a couple in the last few months, and it's really brought our relationship to a whole new level and made it even more exciting to participate in each other's families' traditions and rituals, to spend time hugging the babies in each family and telling jokes with the adults. Today I spent 15 minutes trying desperately to remember hand games from elementary school with E's 8 year old cousin, and on Thursday night E got his very own gingerbread man from my aunt, who makes one for every member of the family at Christmas. We're still figuring this family-blending-action out, but so far it's great to have a whole extra set of folks to get to know and to share traditions with. And we'll just have to put off sleeping (on our awesome new ridiculous thread count Christmas gift sheets) until we're back home in New York.

I hope everyone's holiday was simply delightful!

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