We’re only a few days into the new year and I already feel that the holidays are a long distance experience! We did have a whirlwind road trip, but still!
We’ve been in Texas almost four years now. We planned to be in California for Family Christmas in 2008 and 2010. I made a quick trip just after Family Christmas and before real Christmas in 2009 when my Dad had surgery. Last year we decided to do the AIDS Walk in September so didn’t plan on making another trip back for Christmas. Something about being all together and those sweet little faces of granddaughters changed all that.
With the price of plane tickets, no direct flights and weather-snarled cities to fly through, AND the total inconvenience for me to fly with all of my metal body parts (I have my own share of TSA stories long before it became mainstream), we decided to drive. The bonus was taking a slight detour through Oklahoma (I know, sounds weird) to see my husband’s family. Our kitty, Kisaki, loves her fur-grandparents in Oklahoma so she stays with them for her own little holiday.
Do you know how many people are on rural roads on Christmas Day?!? We knew we probably weren’t going to have to deal with snow like we did last year, but we were surprised how many people were traveling Christmas Day when we drove from rural Texas to rural Oklahoma. Travel was even busier on the day after Christmas as we made our way from Oklahoma through New Mexico and Arizona into California. The blizzard that blanketed that entire area the week before was still evident. There was snow everywhere. So we had our own white Christmas!
My youngest son and his family live in Fresno, our first stop in California. We had our own little gift giving with our three granddaughters. They are almost 7 (and she’s lost 7 teeth!) and 4 years, with the youngest at 18 months. They are amazing little people. My son and daughter-in-law are awesome parents.
The next day, we caravanned to Folsom (a mere three-hour drive) where my sister and oldest son were hosting Family Christmas. My brother and his family are also there and my parents drove up from the Bay Area.
We packed all of our Christmas festivities into twenty-four hours! I wanted to get more pictures to share, but we barely got this one of all of us! And then it was time to get back on the road again so we could have a thirty-six hours with my wonderful in-laws. (Someday we’ll get a picture of that side of the family!)
Life is so short and so unpredictable, that I feel it’s important to grab or carve out whatever time you can with those you care about. Video chat and phone calls are a great alternative, but they don’t replace being in each other’s company, sharing a meal, having a dance-off contest, listening to a story while a little one reads to you. It’s harder and harder to break free from the tyranny of the urgent and cultivate those things that are important.
May this year be a year where we all endeavor to invest in the important people in our lives. Those relationships are priceless.