My mom even meant to wrap the present in birthday paper on top of Christmas paper, but I guess time didn’t allow.


The most interesting 24-hour holiday of my life

Every year of my life, I have spent my birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with my family. This year, for the first time ever, I’ll be spending all of these special occasions alone. So my family and I wrapped them all up into one 24-hour period, to celebrate them together while we can. Calendar be darned.

When the days do come, it will be strange and difficult. Besides me being away, my grandmother and now my cat will also be absent for the first time. (Hey, pets are family members too.)

I think I’ve mentioned before that I am very sentimental. I also love traditions. And because of this, I anticipate that each of those special days will be very rough for me. I have always enjoyed the fact that some things never change, that we intentionally do some things the same way every year. To me, traditions are markers—if you don’t participate in them, the event doesn’t feel like it has actually happened. However, because of the circumstances, we are being forced to change our traditions, at least for 2016.

Yesterday we celebrated my 30th birthday (which isn’t actually until September), and today we celebrated Christmas. At some point this week we will celebrate a tiny portion of Thanksgiving—my mom vetoed cooking an entire Thanksgiving meal twice in one year. I know, the nerve.

It was … interesting … to celebrate my birthday the day I had to put my cat to sleep. The morning was spent at the vet crying and saying goodbye to Teddy, and then a few hours later we were all out on the lake, smiling and taking pictures together. And it was odd to then wake up the next morning—my first morning without him—and celebrate Christmas. As if literally celebrating Christmas in July isn’t weird enough on its own.

That’s my life, I guess: A bit odd, and definitely interesting.

Despite the somber start to the day, my “birthday” was still a lot of fun. My parents, sister, nephews and I went out on the pontoon boat, swam in the lake, then went to dinner—complete with singing! My mom always makes confetti cake for my birthday but didn’t get it made in time, so that will come later in the week, candles and all.

Tellico marina
Myself, my older nephew, and my sister in the car before heading to the boat
LEFT: Tellico Lake as seen on from the boat. RIGHT: I got to drive!

For “Christmas” today, my mom made the egg casserole that we always have for Christmas breakfast. No mimosas—another break in tradition—but we did have Christmas music, a little tree, a present for me, and a momentary fire in the fireplace. It was lovely. :)

Christmas breakfast usually looks a lot fancier, but I’ll take it. :)

I so appreciate my family being good sports and going along with my unconventional ideas to celebrate. It means a lot to me now, and it will mean even more when I’m alone on those special days. I will look through the pictures and watch the videos, wish I could call or Skype my family to be part of those moments from afar, realize I can’t, cry uncontrollably, and try to still somehow enjoy the day. And I’m sure they will have a hard time enjoying it with three fewer family members than usual.

It feels as though everything stable in my life is being ripped away this year. (And actually, that is the focus of another article I’m working on.) Change is uncomfortable … but not necessarily bad. And I suppose you can’t move forward without leaving some things behind.

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