Thursday, October 19, 2006

christmas in october?

Although my birthday was yesterday and I’ve been celebrating it since Saturday, I got a very special present from Jesse on Tuesday. On Tuesday, I got the official word that Jesse would be going home with me for the holidays. And then I actually bought tickets to go home. You have no idea how monumental this is.

First of all, I haven’t been home for the holidays for the last 4 years (since I moved here). Unfortunately, I had been working at the Gap during that time and I was not allowed to get any time off for the holidays because it’s retail. So instead, I would take the first week off of the new year and have a post-Christmas celebration with my family and friends. It wasn’t easy. The Christmas tree at my mom’s house is always a natural tree. Celebrating X-mas late meant having to come home to a mostly dead tree that presented a fire hazard. I know that they kept it up only for me and I appreciated the effort, but that didn’t make the tree any more “alive” and “festive.” And somehow, it wasn’t all that fun to give out presents after X-mas.

It was especially hard not to be home for the last two Christmases because I missed my niece. I missed Serena Rose's birth on December 21st, 2004 (but I do have a lovely picture of her as a newborn sleeping in a stocking at the hospital) and I missed her first Christmas the following year. Being her aunt and godmother, I so desperately want to have a relationship with her and I want to build memories of her and what better time to do that than the holidays?

That’s not to say that I’ve been miserable and alone for the holidays the last 4 years. My first X-mas away from home was spent with my friend Ryan and his family. That was the year I discovered that deviled eggs are as much a part of the Christmas meal as ham and turkey are. As welcoming as Ryan’s family was, it was a little uncomfortable. Ryan, who’s gay, had yet to come out to his family even though I’m sure they suspected something. Being the only girl that Ryan had ever brought home, I was treated as the family’s last hope that Ryan may be straight after all. Needless to say that was awkward. He came out to his family a few months later.

The last two Christmases have been spent with Jesse’s family. They welcomed me into their home and holiday traditions with open arms. His mom even made me a stocking! Talk about warm fuzzies to the extreme! It was so great to be treated like a member of their family during the biggest family holiday of the year. Unfortunately, it didn’t change the fact that I so longed to be with mine (but it did help).

Now that I have a real job, I get to go home for Christmas. And Jesse’s coming with me, so I’m even more excited. I want him to know, that where I come from, Christmas is about midnight mass and tamales (not deviled eggs and ham). I want to be with my niece as she opens her presents (instead of getting something in the mail from me). I want to hold my mom’s hand every time she looks over at me and thanks the Lord for my finally being able to spend the holidays with her. I want to see my brother get really silly after eating too much (some people have food comas, my brother just gets silly). But most importantly, I want to share the whole experience with Jesse.

I know that it wasn’t easy for Jesse to make the decision to be away from his family for the holidays. He is sacrificing a lot to be with me. I want him to know that it means so much to me that he’s coming to Cali with me. And my family will be as welcoming to him as his was to me.

Why? Because in my heart, he’s already a part of my family.


DCWeddingPhotog said...

::sniff sniff:: that's wonderful! yay!

Sean Carter said...

Firstly Happy Belated Birthday lizzie... I'm glad that you'll finally be able to spend Christmas with your family and it'll be all the much better as you have a new member in the family... Good luck.... Peep into this amazing Christmas Blog to check out some really cool stuffs and unique ideas