There is something very different about the holidays when it is 80 degrees, you have to go to work, and your family is 2,000 miles away. I have never spent a Christmas outside of Virginia, or away from my family. In the past 23 years, not a Christmas has gone by that I didn’t hug my mom or my dad. I did get to go home a couple of weeks ago and we did our own little Christmas but of course it’s just not the same. I don’t get to see my 8 year old sisters face light up when she sees that Santa came. I don’t get to drink a mimosa out of a crystal glass while my dad finishes making french toast. I can almost feel the cold hardwood under my bare feet while Christmas songs softly play from the speakers in the corner of every room.
I woke up this morning to my alarm telling me I needed to go to work. It wasn’t until after I brushed my teeth and got out of the shower that I remembered it’s Christmas Eve. I’ve mentioned being upset about being away for Christmas to a few of my friends and the general consensus has pretty much been, “I haven’t been home for Christmas in years, you’ll be fine.” Well, obviously I’ll be fine but this isn’t the second, third, or fourth time I’ve done this. It’s the first time, and it kind of sucks. Year after year, my parents worked so hard to make Christmas so special for us and they created these memories that I will always associate with the holidays and it has been hard for me to accept that I won’t be a part of that this year.
I am here on St. John by choice. If I desperately needed to be home for Christmas, I could have made it happen. But it would have been really hard to get off work, it would have been really expensive, and it’s a pain-in-the-ass time to travel. So, this is part of growing up. I ate my chocolate that my parents sent me in my “stocking” care package in bed last night, by myself, watching Love Actually. Tomorrow I’ll wake up at Carly’s house, we will drink mimosas out of plastic Soggy Dollar cups and make a big breakfast for our best friends. I’ll FaceTime my family and watch the insane pile of wrapping paper build around my little sister and brothers. I’ll spend a few hours at the beach and probably forget it’s Christmas a few times, but that’s ok. I’ll be with my best friends, I’ll be in my favorite place, so it will be ok…just different.
I am so extraordinarily blessed to live the life that I do. I have really good friends here. I am very lucky to be able to experience these things and learn about life and myself while I live on this island. My first Christmas alone could be because I got relocated for a job to like…Wisconsin or something. No offense to Wisconsin, but I just don’t think I’d like to spend Christmas alone there, you know? But, my first Christmas alone is in the Caribbean. I went on an amazing Christmas boat trip to the British Virgin Islands, I have very shitty Christmas lights, and I have a bikini picked out for Christmas Day. I have a stocking on my door that will remain empty, but all in all, I think I am doing ok. The holidays won’t be the same this year and I won’t be able to continue those traditions with my family, but I have many years ahead to be with with them, and I have time now to make my own holiday memories and traditions. I still might cry like 8 more times. But then I will get my shit together and remind myself that my life is awesome, like I always do. Merry Christmas y’all. If anyone sees my family, hug them for me.