Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas is Family...

Ramblings Post #162
I've had a long childhood. I came to that realization when talking with some people I hadn't seen in ages over the holidays. People my age have kids in college, and I'm still trying to score free drinks. I've got, or at least been told, that I have a lot of potential. The notebooks and hard drives full of half finished projects are a testament to that. The failed relationships only underline it. I need to do better.

Historically, as a child, my holidays were spent in the car. We'd rise and open presents, eat, then load up and go visiting. Visiting was riding an hour to see my father's parents, my grandparents, where my aunts and uncles would have gathered at the farm they'd grown up on. There we'd spend a few hours before bundling back into the car and visit to my mother's family, where again aunts and uncles would gather to celebrate the season. We visited my father's family first because they were closer. Invariably we'd ride back home in the dark.

Because this ritual continued from childhood through college and onto adulthood, I now dread spending the holiday in the car. But as the younger generation, my people are long lived, you kinda don't really have a choice.

For this year's holiday, my brother and I rented a vehicle to ride home in. A first. This is at the suggestion of my psuedo cousin, who explained the benefits of a lack of wear and tear on our own cars and issues with insurance, all of which made sense. I reserved a economy something and started packing.

Note: Packing for me involved all electronics that might be attractive to unwanted visitors. The PS3, computer, monitor, etc. No need to take chances.

The good folks muffed my reservation, so we got I guess "upgraded" to a mini-van. Which turned out to be not bad, further indicating my advanced age. It turned out to be roomy, handle well and not that bad on gas, which surprised me and my brother. After the ritual running around that accompanies all trips of any distance, we made pretty good time.

The family was good. We only dropped in on my Grandparents, who are getting on into the advanced section of advanced age. It was quieting, calming and made me wish for days gone by. It's hard watching people you've known your whole life get old. I hope it means I've got good genes.

The end of the day came when, after we'd trundled back home, I took a quiet few minutes and opened up the box of gifts Sporty had shipped me.

So, I wrote all that to say that as I grow older, the holidays have come to mean different things to me. And although I loathe the riding around on Christmas, I understand its purpose. My family is important, and due to my educational efforts and the time commitment necessary to make that happen, I've seen little of them lately. It's not about the gifts, it's the thought. It's larger than just me. That and morning after Christmas we awoke to snow, which got us on the road earlier than expected...and proved the handling of that mini-van was nice.

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