Wednesday, December 31, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

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.


  1. I've been thinking about this post since I read it earlier today. First off, I kind of understand where you are coming from. I say kind of because I've never lived far from home and all my relatives are not strangers to my children. Poor Eddie to be so overwhelmed by those who really love him. Eddie's meltdowns were probably super frustrating, and this is where I understand. Hopefully he's already returned to normal being back at home. When my little Ben was two and a half years old a side of him came out that totally frustrated me. Everything was fine and dandy until then. It was right after Jack was born, so I thought that was the problem, but now I know it was going to happen anyway because he was growing up and really beginning to think for himself. (Which is good, but also hard to deal with. I cried everyday for months.)
    The holidays are such a difficult time to figure out how to make everybody happy, and keep your little families best interests at heart without offending anyone. Although this post wasn't meant to offend, if I was one of your family members this post would bum me out. I don't know why there has to be so much pressure to see family around Christmas, but I think it's mostly because family (and having little kids around) is what makes Christmas so magical. I really thought about it this year because I had an argument with my parents about how we were going to celebrate Christmas Day. They, of course, wanted us to be there for everything and we have other family to visit and our 'little family' things to do. After the argument I just wanted to forget about doing stuff with my parents, but then I thought about how I'm so glad that my Christmas is magical because of my kids and it was just mean for me to not let my parents be a part of it.
    Your situation is a lot trickier but may I suggest that maybe you don't say you won't visit family again around Christmas. Maybe just don't do it every year.
    Hopefully I haven't offended you. Chad and I love you and your little family and truly always want the best for you.

  2. It is sad to think of not seeing Benny et al at Christmas, but I really don't blame you one bit. We only have a dog we're afraid to leave home alone and it wipes us out trying to get to all the different families at Christmas. It is a really hard thing because you do want to share and be involved with everyone. But I would think just the plane tickets expense- even if Santa could buy them for you- would be a detriment. Not to mention poor little Eddie. I'm sure his emotional meltdowns are as hard or harder on him than on you guys. I was so excited to see him and to meet Peter- I hope I wasn't too in their face because I try to give the poor guys some consideration for being overwhelmed; at the same time, I hope I didn't seem to distant or uninterested or something.
    Anyway... I'm super excited you are coming in May and can meet my baby ;) Anytime we get to see you, is wonderful- thank goodness for blogs! I will certainly miss you, but let's focus on all the great and positive things and not get too caught up in thinking "never" or being sad. It will be fun to hear of your own family traditions! We're getting to be grown ups!?!?!
    I love you all!

  3. I've been wondering how to respond to this, but about all I can say is, You're is very hard and not always worth it. Getting through an airport just about kills me. And I often find that on a good vacation, I'm ready to go home on the third day.
    I think it's good that you can be upfront and honest about your feelings.