About eight years ago my Grandma decided that her house, in the tradition of all “fine houses” or some such (she says this is one thing she learned during the four years they spent in England), should have a name. It was around Christmas time, and most of the family was there for Christmas. That year, she dubbed their home “Gathering Place”. It was an apt moniker since it seemed to be where the family converged at different points throughout the year, namely the end of year holidays.
They lived several places during my growing-taller years. There was the house with the pool and the house-wide intercom that this time of year piped the horrendously lame all-Christmas combination musak/easy listening station, the condo where they moved when they decided a five bedroom house with a crapton of land was too big, and the fairly large 4 bedroom ranch with the walk-out basement they bought when they realized they still wanted to be home base for the family and needed more space to house the people that had begun to spread out and move from the hometown. A couple of years ago they succumbed to the inevitable and, because the weather was deemed to be more healthful for one of them, moved to Florida.
In a little more than twelve hours I will be boarding a plane to spend a few days with most of that side of the family. I’ll be glad to see them, but it’s going to be strange in a lot of ways too. it’s a new place I’ve actually never been to, it’s going to be a Christmas without anything resembling winter (that’s just trippy), and I don’t get to see the Midget until the 28th. There’s been a lot going on in my family this year, and it will be good to regroup for a day or two and catch up, but almost everyone is leaving Monday. I kind of wish I had a better idea of people’s lans before I booked my flights, but oh well.
I’m sad I won’t be seeing TM on Christmas. She’s not really looking forward to the time with her “family” and I’m not thrilled about the idea of a holiday without her ether. She’s right, I made the choice to go to Florida, but in some ways I didn’t feel like I really had much of one. With all that’s going on, I felt I needed to be there and at least show my support and get theirs. I didn’t invite her because I got the impression that she wouldn’t have come yet, and I get that (I just want it to be different). I imagine things will be different next year, and we’ll be together.
I am looking forward to the time with the family, it’s been a year since I’ve seen most of them because we all are fairly spread out now and I don’t go back just for grins, it just feels like it’s going to be a different Christmas than usual. In a lot of ways, it really doesn’t feel like Christmas used to, but I imagine that’s a lot of what comes with growing up.
I have to once again give props to the Tom Bihn Aeronaut. This is a freaking fantastic carry-on bag. Using the rolling method and two packing cubes I packed for 10 days (I’ll end up doing laundry because it’s half Tiger’s and half Rachel’s stuff, and I’ll need parts of Tiger’s wardrobe back at some point). I also got two pairs of shoes (only taking one, but I wanted to see if two would fit) and a toiletry bag in there.
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