I was anything but excited when I said goodbye this morning. And I don’t know why, but some days it hits harder than others. I told my husband to have safe travels to Poland and then to Rome, and I’d see him back at our place on Christmas Eve.
It’s hard to drive back to an apartment with blurry eyes.
But sometimes it’s okay to live in a space called heartache, because that very place means we have hearts that feel and lives that have been touched.
The sadness felt in saying goodbye for a week to a husband who’s also a best friend is a gift. The heavy heart in spending holidays away from siblings is a gift. The parents whose love wraps me up where their arms cannot reach is a gift.
Home for the holidays isn’t my reality this year…or the five before. It’s my season in life and it has blessings beyond measure. I wouldn’t trade my husband’s job and where it has us for any other in the world, but I also won’t pretend the holidays aren’t hard to be away. To do so would mean forgetting the magical memories and sweet Christmas traditions made with parents and siblings. That’s a trade I’m not willing to take. So I’ll happily welcome the homesick while not wishing I were anywhere but here because there’s beauty in the bittersweet.
The homesick and the heartsick are indeed gifts, and they point me back to the people and the places who have loved me and lived alongside me.
So if you’re anything like me- sappy and sentimental- don’t fret the heavy heart that often accompanies holiday joy. For it means you have a heart that has been impressed upon- one that has been loved on and lived in.
And that, my friends, is a gift.
And that, my friends, is a gift.
A weekend at the Christmas market in Milan…
- First and foremost, be genuine!!!
- Tell someone they have a great smile.
- Tell a mom or dad they have done a wonderful job raising their child…after all, it’s a pretty thankless job 99% of the time!
- Tell your secretary you appreciate her/his organization, timeliness and effort.
- Tell a teacher your child really has learned a great deal from her/his class. Again, it’s a thankless job, and teachers put in more effort than their pay usually reflects!
- Tell a cashier you appreciate her/his cheer, especially in a holiday season that can often be so hectic.
- Tell your child’s coach that your little girl/boy loves going to practice…or at least the games.
- Bake a fresh loaf of bread for a neighbor for no other reason than that you like living next to them.
- Tell a teammate you appreciate his encouragement and effort.
- Tell a coworker you enjoy collaborating with them on projects.
- Tell the bus driver you’re thankful for his job…it keeps you out of the cold!
- Tell a grandparent they have the cutest grandbabies ever…what grandma doesn’t want to hear this? What grandma doesn’t actually believe this?!
- Tell your singer a church they have a beautiful voice.
- Write a love note to your spouse thanking them for one special quality and put it in her/his briefcase. Or stick it on the bathroom mirror. Or leave it in her/his work shoes, lunch sack, purse or pillow. For the record, a sorry note does not count and the quality cannot be ‘quick to forgive.’
- Tell your daughter she is beautiful on the outside, but it really comes from within.
- Tell your son his is enough. Yes, he’s talented enough, smart enough, big enough, kind enough, just enough.
- Send an e-mail to an old college roomie or friend to let her know you still remember with fondness the morning coffee, ice creams before dinner, and library study meet ups.
- Call your big sister and tell her she’s a gem for putting up with all your tagging-along and hanging-on.
- Text your brother-in-law and let him know you’re happy he’s now family.
- Thank housekeeping for the wonderful job they do cleaning your office.
- Complement your intern on her cute shoes.
- Complement your boss on his kind heart.
- Write a letter to a company you support for no other reason than to tell them you do!
- Thank your wife for the time and effort she put into making the home look like a gingerbread house for Christmas…because, if you’re being honest, you really do love coming home to the lights and the garland.
- Tell your husband you appreciate how hard he works to provide for the family…even though you don’t tell him nearly enough.