Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are all holidays that my family and I celebrate. We have a big meal, often give gifts, and most of all celebrate what we're thankful for. My favorite part of the holidays however, is getting to spend time with family. Christmas for example, wouldn't truly be Christmas to me without being surrounded by my family. This is why it is hard for me to imagine ever spending a holiday with someone else's family, without my own.
This is a distant idea that I thought would not happen anytime soon. However, it seems it is just around the corner. Last Christmas, Clark and I spent the holiday alone in Milwaukee. We did not have any family that came out to see us, so it was just us and our dogs. Talk about lonely!
This year, we decided to spend Thanksgiving with one family, and Christmas with the other. After talking it over with each of our families, we decided to do Thanksgiving in Arizona with Clark's family, and Christmas in Boise with mine. However, I got lucky because I also have family in Arizona and my parents flew out to see me. Christmas in Boise was a little different story. None of Clark's family lives here. He gave up seeing anyone from his family on one of the most celebrated holidays to be with me.. oh and my entire extended family.
Both my mom and dad grew up in Boise, Idaho, so this is where the majority of my extended family lives or gathers for the holidays. This means two things for us: we get to see both sides of the family in every holiday, but we spend less time at each place. This was very different for Clark. We spent each day driving from house to house, spending only an hour or two at each. He met over 30 new family members and had to remember who was connected to whom.. And let me tell you, he did it like a super star. We would come into a house with 15 people in it, and I would wonder off to connect with family I hadn't seen in years. He was left to figure it out on his own. He had to learn new traditions, memorize the family tree, all while making small talk and trying to win my family over.
Most people would follow their significant other around like a lost puppy, looking for guidance on where to go or who to talk to. He on the other hand, did his own thing, hung out with my family alone, and embraced my family as though they were his. Never once did he seem out of place.
I have been nervous about the idea of giving up my family on a holiday, but he has shown me how to embrace new people, new traditions, and a new place; how to make all of these things feel like home, feel like family. Because of him, I now see that family is not just blood. Family can be anyone, and whether blood or not, I can't wait to spend the holidays with them. This holiday season, I'm thankful for the warm weather, the white Christmas, all of my family, but most of all, the boy who has taught me that anyone can be family, and that change should be embraced not reject.
Love is a big part of my life, so here I will do my best to give you a glimpse of what it means to me.
For the next year or so, it will be the primary destination for wedding planning updates.