This is my first time being home for Christmas in three years.
It’s rather nice. Listening to my little siblings read Advent excerpts, watching the packages from Amazon pile up by the front door, driving by houses sparkling with lights, feeling the anticipation in the air.
I used to resist the Christmas hype fiercely and procrastinate on Christmas shopping even more fiercely, but last year, far away in South Korea, I wished more than anything I could be home for Christmas. In Korea, cafes played similar Christmas music and shops displayed similar Christmas decorations, but it wasn’t the same. The atmosphere was different. The anticipation was missing. My family wasn’t there.
Now that I’m here, it seems so natural, so matter-of-course, but I’m trying to appreciate and soak up every single moment that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy if I weren’t here.
Taking my 10-year-old sister’s hand in mine after church and telling her to ride in my car on the way home. Hugging my stepbrother for the first time in 3 years and squealing as he lifts me off the ground. Playing duets on the piano with my 7-year-old sister and laughing at her amazement that I didn’t make any mistakes. Going to aerobics class with my mom and accidentally wearing matching outfits. Squeezing my grandfather’s hand as he gives me advice about marriage.
Reflecting on these moments, I feel so warm inside.
I may live on the other side of the world now, but I am still a sister, daughter, granddaughter, niece, aunt, and friend to those here. And I always will be.