Merry Grown-Up Christmas

This year, Christmas was a little different. Then again, my life has been a little different since I entered the “real world,” so maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised :p

The first difference was something that has happened a few times before: my mom had to work. She works at a hospital, where, just as in other healthcare professions, the patients need to be taken care of whether it’s a holiday or not. When I was little, her co-workers would make sure she had off so she could be with my dad, my sister, and me for Christmas morning, and now, she does the same for her coworkers with young kids. Since Allie and I are grown up (theoretically), Mom does work more holidays. This year, she worked both Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.

Luckily, my aunt Terri, who hosts many of that side of the family’s gatherings, was willing to host our usual Christmas Eve gathering a night earlier, especially after she heard at Thanksgiving that I might have to work, too. Even though I didn’t, Aunt Terri hosted us on the 23rd instead of the usual 24th. It was the usual super-fun family gathering and afterwards, I drove back to my parents’ house.

But there was someone missing from the celebrations on the 23rd: Allie. Because she also works in healthcare, just with animals, and she, too, had to work. And since her work is six hours away, she wasn’t able to come home. This made me very sad. Since forever, Allie and I have slept in the same room on Christmas Eve and I’ve jumped on her bed to wake her up before the sun the next morning. Since our parents didn’t get up that early, we’d hang out in the living room, sometimes watching a random Christmas movie, sometimes falling back to sleep on the couch, or shaking our presents under the tree, which was always the only light.

So it probably goes without saying that I missed that this year, the first year it hasn’t happened. While I did sleep in her room, as mine is bedless, she wasn’t there and instead of getting up at dawn, I got up at nine, after my parents. I had a dream right before I woke up that she came home at the last minute. Yes, I’m incredibly sentimental. But even though she wasn’t there, my parents and I had a really great Christmas morning.

I think I need to get used to this kind of stuff. It’s like as the years passed in college and fewer and fewer friends came home for breaks. I’m growing up and people have their own lives, just like I do. The time has already come where I can’t go certain places or do certain things because of whatever I’m doing in my life, so I need to be able to deal with that on the other side.

Being a grown-up is hard.

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