First of all, I'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. And specifically to my little sister, happy birthday. This weekend, I went back to Neligh for the first time since summer to celebrate Christmas with my family. I think it was the first time all of us were under the Neligh roof since last Christmas. Except this time, I brought Cam.
Every Christmas is good, but this year was a little extra. I don't go to Neligh too much, mostly because of rotten memories from when I lived there. That and I've been very busy with my job and my art and building my life here. But there is always an amazing embrace when I return to Neligh, even if it's only for a day or two. The embrace comes from my 160 lb great dane, who gives me every reason to believe that there is good in the world. And my mom and dad.
Before I left Lincoln with Cam (first extra good thing) and Ian, my mom let us know that my grandma had been in the hospital for awhile. Luckily, she was released just in time for Christmas (second extra good thing). We spent Christmas eve at my grandparents, after spending the first part of the day at my house with my family. My mom's family was out there, and I got to see my cousins, who I rarely get to see anymore.
I'm not so sure that I've ever experienced a Christmas eve like this, in that I felt very estranged from a lot of my extended family. Which I think is my fault, because of how little I come home. I wish there was a way for me to communicate to them that the reason I don't come home has nothing to do with them. I've learned and I've grown and I've become a person that I am proud to be while I'm in Lincoln, and I was never that in Neligh. I have this irrational and idiotic fear that I'm going to revert back into the scared and little person that I was in high school. Irrational and stupid. I know. But hey, I'm human, and humans are irrational and stupid sometimes. I'm still learning and growing, and that doesn't mean that I think I'm "too good" for Neligh, it just means that I'd rather learn and grow in a place that has been so good to me, rather than a place that has been the opposite.
That said, in the feeling far away from a couple members of my extended family, I don't think I've ever been so close to my immediate family (third extra good thing). Every day, I am learning how to love harder, and love with more depth and more grace than the day before. Majority of the time, I end up getting really sad or really angry at least once while I'm visiting home, and for no reason. I'm melodramatic. But it usually ends up with me leaving the town and not being happy. It's a rotten thing that I do, but I didn't do it this time. Because parts of me didn't want to go back to Lincoln. My family loves me so much, you know. It's amazing. And even if I can't consider Neligh a home, I know that my family is my home. As cheesy and un-appealing as that series of words may be, it's true. This year, I have been loved so well, and I regret that I haven't acknowledged it more than I have. I have been loved so well. By my mom and my dad and my siblings, my grandparents, Cameron, Sydney, Johnny, Erin, Pha, my cousins, my aunts and uncles, my teachers, and especially my local baristas. I have been loved so so so so well (fourth extra good thing).
On top of all of that lovey goodness, we made it back to Lincoln in time to stop and see Cam's family (fifth extra good thing). Who also, holy cow, loves so well. I feel very lucky to know people like the Penners, and then also to continue to know them more and more every time I see them. His mom crocheted me an entire blanket that I will be taking everywhere with me because it's soft and also one of my favorite colors. A whole blanket. Angela, if you're reading this, spoiler: all I got you was coffee. But it's my favorite roast and I'll draw a picture on the back.
Truthfully, I'm not so sure what I did to deserve so much goodness. I suppose it's not a matter of "what I deserve," it's a matter of how I accept it. I have never been very gracious when it comes to accepting good things, but again, I am learning. And so far, I think that this is the best I've done. And not only on this holiday, but this whole year. Christmas is always a good holiday to get weirdly sentimental, because hi um Jesus was born and he is the reason for all good things. I think that, in accepting His love and His joys and His shelter and guidance, I have come to realize that it's the only thing I need to accept in order to accept other good things. Idk that just came to me.
Here's some fun pictures of my weird life and this happy happy holiday.