this christmas was the most magical of all the christmases since we have been married. we decided that, since the second week of break would be spent in arizona with jordan's family, we would spend the first week (almost) exclusively with mine. it was like...what? no pressure to get up early and squeeze all the daylight in? we can lounge and watch tv without someone tapping their foot or checking their watch? no driving back and forth? i could grocery shop with my mom for heaven's sake!! i don't know. this felt like vacation to me, no expectations, no frantic speeding to one house, very minimal guilt. it was glorious.
on christmas eve, we went to a christian service. we lit candles, sang hymns, took communion. (it should be noted that during a prayer, my dad was trying to light things on fire with his candle. he's a little irreverent sometimes, but holy cow we have a good time together.) we came home, read the christmas story, read a christmas book, decorated gingerbread men, all of our cozy, classic traditions. we fell asleep to home alone after dragging all of our mattresses in the rec room for a giant sleepover in our matchy jammies.
also noteworthy: a blizzard started about 5pm on the night of christmas eve. it was like the perfect end to a cheesy hallmark movie - we all ran outside, caught flakes on our tongues, and spun around excitedly. christmas morning, we ripped open the blinds to find a perfect white blanket of marshmallow - framed by that big, clear, blue, boise sky. i had a little moment to myself that morning where i just stared outside and said a silent prayer in gratitude for this perfect world.
we skyped with our missionary as soon as the presents were opened and tissue paper thrown away. the only damper on this holiday was the fact that ashlyn could have come home, but ended up deciding to return february 3rd instead. oh, those blasted 5 weeks! we wanted her home! i felt like we all manned up and took her decision in stride, though. our talk with her was happy, full of laughter and palpable anticipation for her return.
the days following were full of overeating and movies, the temple, bonding time with my red-headed pre-teen sister and life chats with my mom in the steam room at the gym. on sunday, we experience a blanket of fog that was eery and beautiful. it didn't lift until the next day, and so the sunset that night was hazy and purple and quaint. it maybe could have been the perfect setting for a murder scene, except it flirted the line from spooky to spellbinding.
that same night i was painting with my little sister mia, when we decided we should utilize the hour of fog-laiden sunlight left, and the inch of snow left on the ground. we bundled, built a mini snowman, and shoveled the driveway as a surprise gift for dad. then we drug a sled to the golf course behind our backyard and went down a few times on the puny little hill.
the air had turned from misty to murky, and we decided to head in. "one more run," i told mia, "and we will go." i stood on the sled and started my slow descent. about 3/4 of the way down, my foot slipped and caught underneath the sled. i felt it twist around and heard 2 sickening cracks. immediately, i fell to the ground and warned my sister - i'm going to yell in pain for a minute, but then i'll be done and we can go in. (is that weird?) anyway, i proceeded to scream for a few minutes, breathing heavy in between and telling mia that the pain was going down, and we could go in really soon. i am a total drama queen when it comes to pain - & since i've sprained my ankle multiple times, i figured it was just a nasty sprain. they hurt, okay??
i came in and my ankle was HUGE. like, what my foot would look like if it was in a fat suit. i couldn't put any weight on it, but figured i'd give it the night and it would be healed. we were going up in the mountains to sled at one of those fancy sledding places - you know, where you get pulled up the hill and there's swerving tracks and everything? i was NOT about to miss out on that. but 7 am rolled around and my ankle was even bigger and painful and, after a long wait at the hospital, we found out it was broken.
my mom approached me, almost sheepishly, and asked if i'd like to stay with them instead of drive to arizona with my in laws the next day. they could take care of me, keep my off of my feet, and drive me back down to utah whenever i needed. obviously i wasn't about to miss out on a trip, and a game that my husband had been anticipated for months.
but for some reason that i haven't yet been able to identify, this outreach -- it really touched me. big deal - my mom wanted to take care of me. that's a very mom-ish thing to do. but for the first time that i can remember, i wanted my mom to take care of me. i wanted to stay home and be nurtured and enjoy the comforts of home for as long as possible. i have always been extremely independent from my family, and especially since i've been married i live by this philosophy of "i'm an adult, i can take care of myself." i adore my family, but for the most part - i don't rely on them for much.
the desire to stay home and have my mom take care of me took me by surprise. it's as if this wall of independence that i have worked so hard to build fell away, all in one moment. a lot of needs that i have consistently pushed away came rushing in, and although it's extremely difficult for me to put into words - vulnerability keeps coming to mind. i was vulnerable to them, to my parents, in a way that i have never been. it pulled at my heartstrings, but letting myself feel all of that, i think that it made me better. i keep coming back to a quote i've heard, “The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.” and maybe when it comes to my family, i should demonstrate that.
as soon as my siblings could tell i was grappling with the decision, they begged for me to stay and i sobbed as i told them that i needed to go. my ticket had been purchased and i had made a commitment. i still question if staying home would have been the best option, but overall i decided to slap on a good attitude and enjoy the rest of my break. and i did - the game was a knockout success (jordan was so excited about boise's win that he couldn't sleep that night haha) and i got a few long-overdue chats with cousins. (i even got the golf-cart vip treatment to and from the stadium!)
everything about this break, even the long hours in the car, was just good. good good good. cheers to a new year, cheers to arizona sunshine, and cheers to being more vulnerable and other life skills i am learning. happy 2015!