January 8, 2013

Home (& Family)

Four little letters, one simple word. No matter how humble, no matter how grand, home is where the heart is. And there is no place I'd rather be. Surrounded by family and friends, the dogs, the dazzling winter snow, the clear and starry sky, I spent almost two weeks in my quiet little bubble away from the world.

After a mild start to the winter, we were greeted with snow on Christmas day, then a bigger storm just a couple of days later, and another two days after that. The trees looked as though they were dipped in marshmallow cream; the lawn sprinkled with pixie dust.

We set the hearth ablaze and gathered plenty of blankets to keep us warm. We positioned furniture to take advantage of optimum television viewing as we sat and watched countless Christmas movies. We took out the snow gear and trekked through the woods with the dogs and a group of assorted holiday guests and friends while the snow continued to fall. We ate Christmas leftovers, holiday cookies and treats for days on end. As the year was coming to a close, we finally broke out the board games. We answered Christmas trivia questions (a stocking stuffer gift for one) and started several rounds of dominoes. We held a Harry Potter marathon while the tree lights glowed from inside and out. It's a magical place this time of year.

My den is still fashioned into a guest room for my son. I haven't wanted to pack things away hoping he'd be back sooner than later. The tree, although dried and drooping, will come down this week as I just didn't have the heart over the weekend to remove it from the house. The girls are back in school (reluctantly of course), and my husband and I are back to our old schedules. The bubble has been broken and the world has eased its way back in.

As I look forward, I wanted to share a new family tradition. My oldest daughter gave my youngest daughter and me tea tins to keep our favorite memories in. Whenever something good happens, no matter how small, we need to write it down on a slip of paper and place it in our tins. The plan is that next New Year's Eve, we will share all of the good things that have happened in our lives. So far, all three of us have included the Harry Potter marathon, playing dominoes on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, and spending our vacation together at home. But I have one more thing to add this week... I'm a grateful mother who is thrilled that her teenage daughters wanted to spend time with the entire family, that my son was home this year, and that even though vacation has ended, we are still spending time together each and every day.