A Different kind of Holiday break

Every year I start the Holiday season right after Halloween. I prepare the house with Thanks Giving decorations. I fill my calendar with things to do, shopping lists, prepare for my traditional Venezuelan tamales (Hallacas) cookout, holiday  baking, and most of all getting ready for holiday celebrations to be hosted at our house. I prepare all menus, make sure the usual people are coming, and even try to find someone new to invite. By the end of the season I am worn out, exhausted, and most times with the flu.
This past holiday season things worked out differently. My husband had to travel to Boston in December so we decided to take advantage of that and crashed my cousins’ party up north instead; after all we haven’t seen each other for 10 years!
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew we grownups would have a blast, but the kids were so young the last time they saw each other that I was afraid they had grown apart. The moment we arrived there, all of those worries disappeared. We stayed 10 days in Boston and Connecticut, and even though I was afraid that my father’s old Italian saying: Guests are like fish. After three days they stink, would apply to us; somehow it didn’t seem the case at all.
It was the best holiday in years, not because we went sightseeing, or because we planned incredible outings. As a matter of fact, we were blocked indoors thanks to the snow storm. But because we all came together genuinely sharing who we are, being stuck indoors for few days was actually a lot of fun.
I don’t know what everyone else got by this overdue get together, but I for once came out with a lot more than I expected. I found out a lot form my distant cousins: I learned we are very much alike, I learned that our experiences were not that different either, but most of all, I learned more about myself!
I found out I can open up to others quickly when welcomed, I found that many the elusive answers about life, health and many other things, do exist; but they are not always in the places I’ve been searching.  I learned that all of the sacrifices, hard work and dedication raising my kids will pay off, as I saw how much my girls have grown within, while I watched them they interact with everyone, opening up and sharing their true self, effortlessly and with confidence.
I learned that sometimes the only way to reconnect with yourself is reconnecting with your loved ones. I will always remember this past Christmas, and will always be grateful to all of my Northern cousins (you all know who you are), for letting us crash your Holiday with open hearts. You will always have a home in ours!

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About sviolante

Author of Innocent War www.susanviolante.com
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