I do not consider myself a materialistic person, but I’m not gonna lie, I love receiving gifts almost as much as giving them out.
And no, I don’t fish for gifts or expect presents for every occasion, but if someone asks me what I want, I’ll tell them. And if someone hands me a gift, I’ll happily accept and open it with child-like anticipation.
The understanding in our family for Christmas this year, however, is that there won’t be as many gifts under the tree as in years past. And I’m super psyched about it! Instead, we’re pooling our money for a trip to Southern Arizona (where I’m from) to visit my family. Unfortunately, my husband can’t go due to work, but our three kids, their significant others, and I are leaving Christmas Day and staying through New Year’s.
We’re very excited, but the trip has me contemplating the similar scenario surrounding my last time flying home.
It was also Christmas time, my husband stayed home because he had to work, and I flew out with our three little kids in tow.
But that trip was tainted by deep sadness. My dad, on October 31, was told that he had cancer and just months to live. Fast forward 12 years, with my dad very much alive and cancer-free. This year’s trip is set for sheer happiness!
My parents, sister, nephew, and brother-in-law have visited us pre-pandemic, but I haven’t been home since. I’m looking forward to a fun time together visiting cool attractions, the mountains and desert scenery, taking hundreds of pictures, and creating everlasting memories.
I’ve also started a list of non-touristy things I personally miss and wish to experience again while there.
I want to catch up with my beautiful mom, read quotes/book excerpts out loud together and hear her say, “That’s neat,” watch and cry over an old movie we both love, then fall asleep by her on the couch as she rubs my head softly.
I can’t wait to wake up extra early one morning and drive to Starbucks for coffee with my superhero dad, just us, while still in our pajamas.
I want to help my sweet sister in the kitchen, talk, laugh, reminisce, flip through family photos, and just hug her tightly.
I’d like to hear my very talented aunt singing behind me, as I accompany her on the piano, and have a huge, somewhat chaotic family feast, complete with my uncle’s hand-tossed tortillas fresh off the griddle. Also, visit my Nino and Nina’s house for homemade Chai tea and a stroll through their magical garden.
I want to savor a bowl of my mom’s (best cook ever) albondigas with rice, refried beans, and pineapple upside-down cake for dessert. And most of all, I want to cherish each minute there to the absolute fullest.
Best gift ever.