Holidays away from home hit me hard this year. But instead of sitting in my own guilt and victimizing myself from my circumstances, here's to gratitude.
My mom, or Mama Bear as I call her, called me just a little bit ago to tell me that she loved me, and that she was thinking of me all day. She's two hours earlier than me and living in Park City, Utah now. My whole family moved out there together, my brother in Salt Lake city with his girlfriend Michelle and their two dogs, and my parents and their two dogs in Park City. The move was a bit sudden, leaving our hometown since I was born in a suburb of Atlanta.
I've always been a free spirited type of girl, moving at the drop of a hat and ready to jump into experiencing whatever my leap was towards. I understood the move, and I was always a "life is now" type of girl, never planning out the details and letting fate drive what was next. I moved up to New York City, my most recent move, in a sudden leap as well. I gave myself around 72 hours after landing from a visit to pack my car and drive up with 35 dollars to my name and a blow up bed with my name on it in my best friend's studio in Brooklyn. I leaped the pond and studied in Italy for a semester, moved in areas of Baltimore for love and jobs, jumped back and forth to a version of home in Atlanta. Moved to New York City to go to graduate school. Most of my leaps were away from my family, even though that was not my intention.
As I spoke to my mother, tears gathered. Being away from my family during the holidays always has done a number on me. In college I was an athlete, swimming for Towson University, where time off was not an option for such a sport. Hanukkah does not count in our break, so I would spend it in the pool and skyping or phoning home to light candles. Sometimes, I would miss nights, and others I would invite friends over to spend it with me. It was never the same. This has been the case for most holidays, being in another country or up the east coast having other commitments in the way of being where I really wanted to be.
In the mist of my missing, I realize how important my family is to me and how one day I really wish to be in the same state with them for a year to spend all of the holidays with them. To wake up and get the thanksgiving paper for my dad to read, cook the stuffing with my mom, light the candles and give gifts to one another and watch the dogs shred apart their presents, eat my dad's famous cheesecake, spend christmas in a Chinese restaurant, ski on the mountain christmas day, have a cook out and go to the Fourth of July parade on main street, and the to be made traditions now that they are in Park City.
With this being said, I am so grateful that I have a family where there are traditions. We know how to celebrate holidays, create traditions, laugh together, and to be completely outrageous together. There are always honorary guests who can't be with their loved ones, or who choose to spend their holiday with us. We are a family that invites others into our space, and always adopt our own version of a family to join our blood family. I am grateful for each and everyone of them: adopted or actually in my family tree.
In a time of wanting to feel sorry for myself for being away from my family, I choose to move out to NYC for a reason. When the time is right, I know I will be with my family and when that time comes I will be grateful. But for right now, I get to find some gratitude for my holidays this year:
I am grateful that I have a family that I miss and love unconditionally.
I am grateful for the love and support that they have for me. They have been on my own roller-coaster of life, being by my side with all of my own troubles and downfalls. They have supported me at all costs and have had faith in a lighter and brighter future for me when I did not have one.
I am grateful that I got to spend the holidays with Robert and his family, being invited into a home to celebrate another family's Christmas both last night and today.
I am grateful for my journey, being one full of dramatics, passion, love, success, failure, heartache, and the deepest of connections - and that I can now feel all of those emotions.
I am grateful for my want to jump into my life harder and harder everyday - and that I refuse to settle in my own life.
I am grateful for my creativity and my connection to Art. I am grateful that I have opportunities to use my hands and my eyes to create things everyday - for work and for myself and others.
I am grateful for the people in my life that trust and love me, and for those to come to do the same. I can now receive as well as give the same in return.
I am grateful for my roof over my head, a pillow to rest my head, and for clothing and nourishment to keep myself healthy.
I am grateful for anyone who reads this, and taking the time to look through my work and my words.
So, here's to you. Here's to me. Here's to us. Here's to Everyone.
With Sparks O' Light