Castles in the Sand

When the waters rise, will our castles remain?

I’ll be home for Christmas; you can count on me

I have never lived really far from my family. Even now, 500 miles is an eight-hour drive. It’s not that far away. But at the same time, when I get home for Christmas it will have been almost four months since the last time I saw my grandparents and most of the rest of my family. It will mark the longest (by far) I’ve ever gone without seeing them.

I’ve been so blessed to have a close family, and I am very thankful for that fact. Since moving to Ashland, I have been overwhelmed with blessings in the way of tremendous friends who have become like family in a mere few months. But for the first time in my life I really am homesick.

The past week has been tough for my family. My grandpa has been sick, and he’s been in and out of the hospital. As of right now, he is at home and seemingly recovering. God provides and God takes care of us. God always has.

Yet it has been really tough for me to be down here while my family is gathering at the hospital in prayer and support for my grandpa. In the past, I would be there with them. I would stay as long as it takes, because that’s just the way my family is.

This is how bad it’s been: those corny holiday commercials about the son coming home from overseas or even just calling and talking to everyone and seeing the joy in the faces of his family have been really getting to me. They don’t make me cry, because that would be just really sad, but there’s a certain level of emotion when I see them and realize how much I can’t wait to go home.

Please have snow and mistletoe and presents by the tree

I’m from Seattle; there won’t be snow. I’ve learned that one repeatedly over the years as the weatherman broke his promises before eventually no longer even making them. Mistletoe is a bit awkward when I’m talking about being with family, but sure. Throw it in there.

Of course, we ALL know it’s the presents I’m really looking forward to. But for me the presents are different this year. It’s been slowly getting to this point as I’ve gotten older and my presents have been less and less exciting (oh, how I wish I was a little kid again). But as much as I appreciate all of the gifts from friends and family, especially this year when I’ve been away from home so long, I will appreciate the present of having my family around me.

It’s really not lost on me just how blessed I’ve been to have such a close family and especially to still have all of my grandparents. As each year passes, I get fewer opportunities to spend with my grandparents, and I know those opportunities will not last forever. Each one is a present, and it will be these presents that are by far the most valuable to me.

Christmas Eve will find me where the love light gleams

My dad’s family has a tradition. Every Christmas Eve since all of us grandkids were very little, we all gather at my grandparents’ house and spend the night. Over the years we’ve grown from six wide-eyed kids to six adults (it kind of breaks my heart to admit that), plus two spouses and one more to join in a few months. But it hasn’t stopped us. All of us grandkids still sleep on the floor (except the one on the couch) in the upstairs bonus room, and we cherish Christmas morning together with presents and homemade cinnamon rolls.

I’m not really sure what the phrase “love light” refers to, but in my mind there is no place that could feature a gleaming love light any greater than that of my grandparents’ home with our family gathered together. And considering that on Christmas Eve before heading to the home of the Grandparents Scott we always gather with my mom’s family and enjoy an evening of dinner, dessert and presents with the grandparents, “kids” and grandkids, you better believe that I will be there on Christmas Eve. And that love light will be gleaming.

I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams

While I will forever do all I can to ensure I am home for Christmas, I realize that these traditions will end at some point. Someday these annual experiences will become memories, and while this year I hate the thought of it, I acknowledge that it’s a looming truth. And because of that fact, I will appreciate and enjoy these years and forever cherish these memories.

I will be home for Christmas. Someday it may be only in my dreams, but this year I am dedicated to ensuring that those dreams are full of joy and blessed memories.

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