Fuzzy has posted a really nice set of photos from the trip (though I swiped one for my post- Thanks, Fuzzy!) Click here to see the pictures.
I will resist boring you with the minutia of each day we were home, but the trip was a good one. It has gotten me thinking about the last time we were all together at Christmas. First of all, the last Christmas the whole family was together in Vicksburg was- to me, at least- a tense holiday (which was X-mas 2003, pre-Fuzzy and before Dad’s cancer). We had fun, but I remember a distinct feeling of disappointment when we left. It seemed to me that the whole visit was full of passive-aggressive moments and that everyone was somehow put off with everyone else. It puzzled me at the time, but in retrospect, I think it was because we were all together as“adults” for the first time. Us “kids” had moved away, we had our own lives, our own interests, and our own goals. Our parents had continued to do their own thing. Erica and I- so very close and similar to one another for most of our lives- had taken paths that diverged in some crucial areas. We were all still incredibly close, but when we were all back together, everyone expected that we would all be the versions of ourselves that we had been years ago. And we weren’t, and I think it almost seemed a betrayal of sorts at the time. “What has happened to YOU?” Though it was good to see everyone, it was a sad trip for me. Others may not agree with this assessment, but this was my personal take on that particular trip.
Luckily, in the years that have followed, it seems everyone has grown much more comfortable with who the others have become. This year was the first trip that both my parents, Erica and Fuzzy, and Katie and I were all together at the same time. It was a really good trip and a really good balance was struck between “old” and “new.” We were all true to ourselves, and folks seemed genuinely happy to be in the presence of the others. We got to see family (immediate and extended) and friends (Ian, Alex, Barbara, Melissa, Palmer, Aron, Daniel Boone, etc), got to share stories, watch movies, and got to know each other even better.
So who knows what the next few years will hold? Katie and I may be overseas for the next few years. Dad’s health may take a turn for the worse (though we obviously hope and pray this is not the case). There are many major unknowns in the future (aren’t there always?), but these unknowns made this visit that much more meaningful. I love my family, and feel blessed that we all could work it out to be home for this visit.
A few other points:
Fuzzy is a welcome addition to the family, and as we get to know him more and more, I see why my sister adores him so much. He’s a great guy, and they really are a good couple.
My father was, is, and will continue to be a role model for me. I am who I am because of the influence of my dad (and my mom, too, of course). But as a guy, there is a peculiar relationship between father and son. So when my dad tells me I am an inspiration to HIM, I am speechless. It is an honor that I cannot put into words.