December 1998...the last time I was home for the holidays.
December 2002...the last Christmas we spent with my Mom and Rod here in Iowa.
This year, weather permitting, I will be going home for Christmas. I hate that there has to be that disclaimer about the weather, but we live in the mid-west, it's winter, and we must be realistic about the possibility that safe travel across Iowa and Nebraska may not be an option come December 22nd. I'm trying not to waste too much energy thinking about the weather spoiler. There are too many other things needing my attention right now!
Planning has begun. I'm making a mental list of what gifts can be taken along with us during our travels, and which need to be, for secrecy sake, mailed ahead of time. Given the expense of extra travels and unplanned, unpaid days off this fall (one of the joys of having a job with no benefits), we won't be needing to make much room either way for very many gifts. Not that I'm complaining, as in return we are getting the best gift of all, that of time to spend with loved ones. (Besides, the only THING on my Christmas list this year is a new, functional garage door. One to match the thing on Scott's list. Wrapping 2 full sized garage doors to fit under a Christmas tree would be a real pain in the arse as it is, so it's probably better that we won't be getting them this year so we don't have to also worry about transporting them over the river and through the woods to Grandma's house for Christmas morning.)
Emails and texts have been exchanged discussing food plans, celebration schedules, gift ideas, travel plans, and conveying the vast spectrum of emotions that will be part of our holiday togetherness this year. This could be a very emotionally Christmas visit, yet my heart is the lightest and most festive it has been for many a holiday season. As I type this, occasionally sipping on my glass of red wine, the girls are making paper snowflakes and Pandora is playing us a mix of holiday tunes. It's December perfection.
I will be home this year for Christmas.
I hope my heart can keep from exploding into a thousand tiny pieces as it tries to contain the joy of that simple statement.