Melanie and I learned a lot while visiting Utah this year. One of the most important things we learned is this: there’s no place like home—our home, which is no longer in Utah. While it’s great to visit family that we rarely get to see, nothing compares to being in your own place, with your own things, on your own schedule. Anything else is emotionally and psychologically (not to mention physically) draining. With a growing family, this has become all the more obvious. Edison in particular had regular emotional meltdowns while we were in Utah, meltdowns unlike any he’s experienced before. I can only assume it’s because of the abrupt shift in … well, everything! And so it is that, in all likelihood, we have just spent our final Christmas in Utah.
This is not to say that we did not have a wonderful time. We had a very white Christmas, which never would have happened here in Tallahassee. And Edison actually did enjoy playing with his aunts and uncles, his grandparents, and various dogs. But in many respects, it was an exhausting trip. 12 days seems a bit much to be away from home, and traveling during winter and the holidays only accentuates the difficulties. Perhaps we’re just spoiled now, but neither I nor my children enjoyed their being bundled up in so many layers of clothes before we went anywhere. And what a pain it is to stuff an overly puffy child into a car seat! I won’t miss that. Then, once you’re finally settled into the car and the temperature has increased enough for you to drive, you slip and slide all over the road. All this, and because it’s the holidays, you’re trying extra hard to see everyone you love and care about. So you’re pushing harder and harder, and you’re constantly shoving your children into what (in their eyes) are complete strangers’ faces, generally half a dozen or so new ones at a time. It’s a bit too much, too fast. At times—sadly, at times that come too frequently—it does not quite seem worth it.
The good news: Melanie and I hope to start visiting Utah in the summertime. Though it may not seem like it, I expect that doing so would make a world of difference. It will be easier, calmer, and will carry less expectations. And, so long as we live in the South, it will likely be a pleasant weather experience to visit Utah in May or June rather than December. Of course, we’ll still want to shorten our stay—no more two week ordeals, I’d say. Maybe one week. But that’s probably the limit.
It’s good to realize these things. Realistically, the larger we become as a family, the less practical it will be to travel anyway. The adjustments had to come at some point or another, and I guess that time is now. It’s bittersweet to view this as the last Christmas with our families of origin, but it’s exciting too. It almost seems odd that Melanie and I just celebrated our fourth married Christmas together, and yet we still talk about what traditions we’d like to carry on once we’re celebrating Christmas with our own children. It sounds like some future consideration, yet we have two children! Shouldn’t we be starting these things now? Yes, indeed. And so we will.
Here’s looking forward to an exciting 2009, and to our continued leaps into adulthood.