I’ll be home for Christmas…but only in my dreams.
It was December and this song seemed to be playing where ever I went. It was haunting me. Normally, December 1st hits and I love hearing (and singing) Christmas music. We all have Christmas carols we detest. I personally can’t stomach Frosty the Snowman or Rudolph (I highly doubt I’m alone in that), but I’ll Be Home for Christmas is mellow, has a nice melody, and seemingly sweet (or at least innocuous) lyrics. Unless they hit too close to home. A home that you, the listener, will not be seeing for Christmas.
It was a difficult decision, so of course I waited until the last minute to make it. Flights were going up, and if I was going to take the plunge, I couldn’t wait any longer. A $600 round trip was already staring me in the face, a number that’s far to large a percentage of the total money in my checking account. But it wasn’t just the money, I was back at my interactive theater job and a stipulation of getting that job back was working during the holiday season.
And so it was that I found myself willing back tears, on the phone with my father, telling him I would not be home for Christmas. For the first time in 25 years- the only time in my life.
I’m an only child, this makes situations such as this difficult. The Christmases of my youth were often just me and my parents. My presence (and presents) would be sorely missed. But that’s part of growing up, isn’t it?
I spent my Christmas with my beloved aunt and uncle in Princeton, NJ. They have an only daughter who coincidentally has the same name as I. It was her second Christmas not home and I felt like my “taking her place” (I could never actually take her place) made perfect sense. I had a lovely Christmas on December 25th. I also had a lovely Christmas last weekend. I flew back home on the eleventh day of Christmas (11 pipers piping?) and now am in sunny California for most of horrible, awful, dreary January. Two weeks after official Christmas my little family in San Francisco opened gifts under the tree, ate roast beef, and counted our blessings. All in all, it worked out very well for me.
What I learned is, it’s never to late for Christmas wishes. Sometimes they are even better belated- it’s nice to have something after the magic of the season has disappeared.
I hope your holidays were full of cheer and that January doesn’t get you down!
Do you remember your first Christmas away from “home”? Has it happened yet?