It's December 20th, and we are all under one roof. Semester number seven is in the books for our oldest and senior year for our youngest is quickly approaching a memory.
This year, thanks to El Nino, we are staying back for Christmas Eve. Typically, we are the first family to get out of dodge, so we can capitalize on the beautiful, fresh snowmobile trails and the fact that everyone else is putting on their game faces and spending time with extended family. This year, there is little snow in the forecast, and the trails are officially closed, so we are staying back and leaving on Christmas morning.
I am looking forward to seeing family this year; it's been a hard year at best with dad passing away. We won't see everyone in both families, but I will make sure that phone calls are made or text messages sent, at least to send out wishes. The times we do stay home for Christmas, there are a lot of laughs. This year, there will probably be tears too.
This past week I wished my oldest brother a happy birthday. We haven't seen each other in years, but text occasionally, usually initiated by me after someone falls ill or passes away in our family. I talk to his kids more than I talk to him. I started my message to him calling him big brother and I told him I loved him. That day I didn't get a response. The day after I didn't get a response. Two days later I got my response in the form of an invite for our family to come to his house on the 26th. Unfortunately, we will be out of town, so we won't get to see there family. He signed his message big brother.
In all honesty, it was a huge step for our family. There had been a rift after an incident that happened 15 years ago (I still don't know what really happened) and divided our family; we rarely talk. I've never been one to give up on something, so I text every time something significant happens...I'm the baby sister, and I'll make sure that I always talk to my family even if I don't see them for every holiday.
I'm hoping that it is the first of many invitations either from his house or ours. I want our kids to know there cousins. That was one of my favorite things about growing up - spending time with my cousins.
I wish we could be there on the 26th, but our tradition is to spend time away with our family. I'll miss seeing my brother and sister-in-law, and seeing my niece and four nephews, and I'll miss meeting their significant others, and meeting my grand niece and two grand nephews. I know he won't see this unless one of his kids show it to him. I wonder what he would say.
Our vacation won't be our typical vacation where we spend every day on the beautiful trails of northern Wisconsin. This year, unless there is some northern snowstorm that develops in the next day and dumps 24 inches of snow in the next two days, our vacation will first be three of us, then five of us, then three of us again spending time together and just enjoying our down time. It's been a really long and hard year for our entire family. What we need is a little home sweet home time to regroup, refresh, and hope for a better 2016.