If the Fates Allow

by Emily Jasper on October 26, 2009

It’s that time of year again. My family has to negotiate the holiday schedule between four different locations. And this is just the five of us (parents, me, two brothers). None of the children are married yet, and extended family can’t always fit into the equation.

We are officially a “see you at Christmas” kind of family.

Now, to be fair, the family was together one other occasion this year: one brother’s graduation. But there are no more graduations on the horizon, no weddings, no babies (that we know of), and Thanksgiving is too short to be worth the travel hassle. Christmas is kind of it for my family.

As one of three Gen-Y children trying to make my way in the real world, I’m limited by the usual factors when it comes to family vacations. When I was in DC, it was location and lack of vacation time. When I moved to MN, it was travel limited by weather (meaning who really wants to come visit me in February). One brother is now in DC, and location isn’t as much an issue, but still figuring out funds is. The other brother is in school, not exactly close to an airport, and well, funds is the obstacle there as well.

This is in conjunction with the fact that “home” is St. Louis for my parents. A location that had never been “home” to my brothers or myself.

We’ve gotten creative and decided that home is where the heart is. It’s more about who we’re spending time with than where. And we don’t take it personally if someone can’t make it. Other family friends adopt us for holidays, and my parents are becoming the mobile party, bringing the visits to us. We text, send pics, and maybe we’ll even start having video chats for the holidays. These are the same kinds of practices we learned when my dad was missing holidays and important events when deployed during my childhood. We adapted.

My family will never be the large clan located within a few blocks of each other. Holidays will never consist of a week’s worth of visiting and festivities. We’ve never been that way. We’re Navy. With 12 moves under my belt, I grew up with a constant change of scene and a family that clung together with every shift of address.

We are incredibly grateful to have each other. That we are fortunate enough to stay connected, even if through email until we can see each other again.

It might be early to be thinking about the Christmas spirit, but I can’t help it (thank you retail). So, as Judy Garland would sing in Meet Me in St. Louis:

Through the years we all will be together

If the Fates allow

Hang a shining star upon the highest bough

And have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

The views expressed in my blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

Photo from clipart.