a week and a half off is a beautiful thing. until you have to go back. over the past ten days, i prepared for and enjoyed greatly the christmas holiday with my parents; my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew; and my aunt & uncle. and we spent new year’s eve with a couple of second cousins, the kids and wife of one of those second cousins, and the second cousins’ mother. did you follow that?

just so it would afford me more time with my family, i lugged a duffel bag of clothes to my parents’ house and slept on the hide-a-bed in the living room. i wasn’t about to hop into a chilly car at 11:30 each night and wake up at 6:30 each morning just so i wouldn’t miss out on precious time.

we spent our days at the museum of science and industry (a thrill for my nephew, who loves trains, planes, and anything related to transportation), the chicago children's museum and navy pier (a day so nice we ate our lunches outside), millennium park (not as nice of a day, leaving us warming ourselves with hot cocoa and doughnuts at a dunkin donuts), and just chillin’ around the house.

i put my nephew to bed four nights in a row -- per his request -- and it was an opportunity for some sweet time to read books and sing songs before the lights went out. i stayed up late with my parents, brother, and sister-in-law watching various movies and, eventually, two-thirds of the first season of arrested development. throughout the week, no matter what we did, i laughed a lot and smiled so much my cheeks got sore.

on the way to the airport, my nephew, who is “four, but i haven’t had my fourth birthday yet,” told us that he wasn’t going to miss those of us staying in chicago because he was happy to go home to his little yellow house. this is a good thing, i thought. and then we laughed when he said, “i didn’t have any fun when i was here.” my sister-in-law reminded him of all the different things he had done, and he said, “well, maybe i was a little bit happy.”

dropping off my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew at the airport is always a cause for tears. we are a family that is blessed to delight in our time together and, sadly, i think that is a rare thing these days. but, as my mother said as we watched them walk toward the terminal, at least it’s not 1851 and we’re not sending them off to an unknown place, unsure of whether or not we’ll ever see them again.

now i understand my nephew’s interest in and appreciation for large, fast transportation vehicles.

best wishes to all for a safe, happy, and peaceful new year.

No comments: