I've generally held mixed feelings about the holiday season for quite awhile. Though I certainly enjoy the festivities that go along with Thanksgiving and Christmas, more often than not, I've found myself having to work a good portion of the late afternoons and evenings.
So this year, when I actually was able to spend the majority of Thanksgiving with my family, I found a great deal more joy than in some of the past years. Instead of having lunch and then shortly afterwards having to head to the office to begin working on the next day's paper, I was able to do what most people do.
Enjoy the day and give thanks.
As a currently single, mostly nocturnal workaholic, I don't get the chance to eat a lot of 'real food.' I do get plenty of Subway and eating out as well as a pretty regular diet of popcorn in various high school gyms around the mid-state. So one of the best things about the holiday season is having a delectable table full of amazing food cooked by my aunt and my cousin's wife.
After piling my plate full of turkey, homemade macaroni and cheese, noodles, corn, mashed potatoes, a roll and a well placed devil's egg, I savored every bite while catching up my grandfather, my aunt and uncle as well my cousin and his wife and two kids. Just as wonderful as the food was the chance to relax with my loved ones. Running around with my young niece and nephew, 'Uncle Carey's' endurance was tested by the seemingly never ending supply of energy from Logan and Lucy. On the plus side however was getting the chance to see how quickly each of them had grown since the last time I'd seen them.
After lunch we watched some football, and some cartoons with the kids, before heading home to 'create' a little more room for dinner.
I was amazed at how much I missed being able to take that annual Thanksgiving nap that I had been missing over the last seven years of working each holiday. Even more appealing was knowing that I got to come back for round two and hang out with the kids again.
Shortly after everybody arrived for dinner, Lucy sidled up next to me and plopped down on the couch asking me to read to her. So after a riveting version of The Mouse Before Christmas, we did some drawing together for awhile, including my first portrait, a requested crayon masterpiece of Lucy. She asked me to sign it for her, which drew a few giggles from her Mom, and made my heart swell like the Grinch's in the Dr. Seuss cartoon.
So this is what I'd been missing!
Wow, I knew having to work on the holidays wasn't much fun, but now I really know what I'd been missing out on. Everything seemed that much more clear when people talked about how fast time really goes by. I wouldn't have missed this for the world!
My parents, retired in Florida, though still finding a way to work part time, will be back for Christmas and I can already imagine that it will be even better. So here's to the holidays and remembering that what's most important is those you spend the time with. I think I'll go request some more vacation time.