We had a wonderful Christmas Day. Benjamin woke me up this morning with, “Mommy, did Santa come?!?” He was so excited by his stocking and the gifts inside (including a new toothbrush, which he was super excited about) that he actually failed to notice the tent and race car set in the middle of the living room until I drew his attention to it. He gasped appropriately as he discovered each gift Santa had left, and when Liam woke up a few minutes later (which was inevitable given the volume of enthusiasm that was coming from the living room) Benjamin happily showed him all of the toys Santa had left for them to share together.
Both boys had a fun time opening their gifts, showing them to everyone, and handing gifts out for the rest of the family to enjoy. Benjamin went through his gifts the fastest, and then started helping Liam with his. As the day went on, Benjamin became less enamoured of sharing the new toys and gifts (stomping and stating, “All the toys are mine!” at more than one time). We had a lovely mid-day meal, followed by a nap and later, a wonderful dinner. Everyone was happy, and we all ended the day tired (and quite late).
Never, though, has the time difference between here and home bothered me as much as it did today. When we got up this morning, when we opened our gifts, when we had our lunch, even when we laid down for our naps — everyone at home was just waking up or still asleep. For hours, the thought of, “Oh, I can’t wait to talk to my mom!” or “Mina will love it when she sees this,” or “I wonder what Dad will think of this?” were present in my mind. I was so excited and anxious to talk to everyone, to share Christmas with them, to tell them how the boys were doing and share with them what they had enjoyed the most.
My greatest joy today was watching my boys together: sharing, playing, cuddling, wrestling (even fighting). I also loved watching my boys enjoy their Christmas, and seeing the wonder in their eyes at discovering the special surprises that had been left for them. But the gift that I anticipated the most as my day progressed was getting to Skype with everyone at home.
We Skyped with my dad’s house and my mom’s house, and in the process covered my entire (and very extensive) immediate family: my mom, my dad, my stepmother, my brothers, my sisters, my one sister’s boyfriend and even my brother’s dog. By the time we got to talk to everyone, it was late in the day, we were tired, and Benjamin’s patience with most everything (in particular, with sharing with Liam) had been worn very thin. But it was so nice to see their faces, to hear their voices, to share in their silliness. We got to talk about the day, share our stories with them, hear about their plans. It turns out that we were all having very similar things for dinner, too, so that felt a little like we were all together.
As often happens with that mode of communication, though, I didn’t feel like I got to share the best of myself, or of all of us, with them today. I love them all so much, and I hope they understand how precious those minutes on the computer were for me. Since I have been here, I have not had a day that I wished more that I was at home, with all of them, sharing this day.
We’ve gotten to experience Christmas in Vienna. We had a wonderful day here, a beautiful, special, memorable Christmas Day. But next year, we will be together if I can make it happen. Whether they come here, or we go there, I want to be with my family. That is what the holiday means to me — the most special part is all of us being together. Next year, I really will be home for Christmas.