Like many of you, I’ll be traveling for the holidays. Tonight is the last night before we take a 16-day trip visiting families from Minnesota to Indiana and everywhere between. Four round-trip flights plus the cost of a rental van that will hold our family of five (plus 3 bulky car seats) has taken quite a chunk out of the budget. (And packing for us has taken a chunk out of my sanity.) For the same cost, we could have traveled to Hawaii or San Diego or even Mexico. Somewhere warm. Somewhere relaxing. Why leave the cool but manageable weather of the Pacific Northwest to the bitter cold (the kind in which your nostrils freeze when you step outside) of the Midwest? Why spend our entire travel budget for the year when we won’t be able to really do that much “travel” (“Why can’t we leave the house, Mom?” ”Well, snow is blocking the door, dear.”) Why engulf ourselves in family drama when the distance can sometimes seem harmonious?
One word: family.
And we love them.
We love them for the drama they bring to our lives. Why watch “Real Housewives” or “Survivor” when many of the same plot lines can unfold between aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, and sisters? Maybe I can calculate the cost savings of canceling cable and just tuning in on Skype a couple nights a week?
We love them for the joy it brings to them and our kids. Our parents’ faces light up the moment they see their grandchildren. And our kids are just as excited. We’ve been counting down the days throughout the month until we can see the grandparents. And, with video chat, they’ve seen the kids grow up, week by week. In turn, when they do see each other, the grandparents aren’t strangers.
They are the loving extensions of Mom and Dad, bearing gifts of marshmallows, silly music, and copious presents (too many, really…if you have to buy us luggage in order for us to bring gifts home, then you bought too much).
We love them because my husband and I don’t have to cook or clean for a couple weeks. Enough said.
We love them because they provide us the chance to relive our own Christmas memories while growing up. Waking up in my parents’ home on Christmas morning does make me feel a bit giddy. What did Santa bring? What kind of cake are we going to make for Jesus’ birthday this year?
We love them because the Lord tells us to.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12
This is the first commandment with a promise (Ephesians 6:2), and going to our parents’ homes for the holidays, despite freezing weather, long travel days, weary kids, big expenses, and a tinge of crazy, may be just a small piece of fulfilling that promise for me.
Britney Cole is a wife and mother to three dear children, all of whom are 4 years old and under. Working full-time from home allows her the flexibility to be available for refereeing arguments, kissing boo-boos, showing her girls how to multi-task during conference calls (Eating Cheerios in pajamas while pitching a new project to a client? Don’t mind if I do!). She used to craft, make pottery, read books, do yoga, and cook creatively. And one day, will again...maybe after everyone is potty trained.