Since the holidays are finally underway, I’m ready to share that little rejected ditty I sent to that magazine a few weeks back.
(I know. I hate that word now, too.)
They wanted an essay of 500 words or less on what Home for the Holidays meant to me.
So, I told’em. The cold, hard truth.
Here it is.
Untouched. Totally rejected.
*Home for the Holidays*
That holiday frenzy stuff is getting close. Seriously close. Closer than my bank account would like to admit. But regardless…it’s close. I can feel it breathing down my neck.
Too bad it’s not a single man.
Until about two years ago, I’d pack up the car with more shoes for me than gifts for the family, and drive for hours. Hectic and fast-paced, to say the least.
Since the three of us girls live in the same area, the folks decided to play that retirement card, pack 43 years of life together and plant their roots in a neighboring city. Not too far, but not too close.
My family tends to fall on the quirky side. We’re not the norm. And that’s ok. It’s what we like, and it’s what makes us who we are.
Even though all three girls are over 30, we believe in Santa. Dad insists.
Anytime we mention something we’d like or something we’re thinking about buying, his immediate response is, “Talk to Santa about it.” We used to roll our eyes and think the old man had to be losing it. Now? We agree with him. And it has made us better women for it. He has taught us Santa isn’t a fat man in a red suit…but a faith in our heart. He has taught us to continue to believe.
And we each have a package under the tree with a little tag that reads, “Love, Santa.”
Holidays equal traditions, right? Most moms probably prepare a baked ham or maybe a turkey. Not mine. It’s usually a gumbo. An out-of-this-world-dripping-down-your-chin gumbo.
She’ll hover in the kitchen for hours stirring over that big, heavy pot. There’s no way I could tell you what she puts in it, and I’m not sure she even knows. But it’s a bowl of heaven. Especially when you dump a big plop of her potato salad smack in the middle.
Needless to say, it’s an insult if you even mention the word “calories” at this time. She swears her gumbo has none. And after two bowls, I’d like to think it doesn’t either.
We unwrap gifts, we bring up old stories that we all pray will eventually be forgotten, we pull out old pictures we wish would someday disappear, and we argue over the remote.
Then another bowl of gumbo.
Before long, Dad wants to do that dreaded family picture. Every year it’s the same: I have a gumbo stain on my shirt, the middle sister has bed-head because she dozed off after gifts, the baby sister is holding the remote.
We stand there. Together. In front of the fireplace. Dad sets the camera and runs into place. We smile. And someone says, “How much longer?”
Then SNAP. It’s done.
One of us has her eyes closed. One of us has her mouth half open. One of us is looking down. And the folks are standing there. Smiling. Ridiculously proud of their quirky little family.
Then another bowl of gumbo.
There you go. That’s it.
That’s my take on what the holidays are like for us.
What about you? What are the holidays like for you?