Holidays, travel and jet lag

6:08 AM

At the checkout on my first trip to Target this year the cashier asked me a question that didn't seem to process in my head. It took me a few seconds to realize what she was talking about and actually answer her! She smiled at me and asked, "Been partying a little too much?"

I laughed. Nope, just jet lagged. Came over from France to visit the family.

Her eyes widened and she didn't have anything to say. Which is fine. People talk about jet lag, they understand the concept but you don't really know how to empathize until you live through it.

And with children it is a whole different version.

Because babies don't understand at all why their bodies are telling them to sleep when there is so much activity in the house, so much light and so many things to see and do. They get crabby and scream at the aunties trying to hold them and get to know them, but they really just don't understand why they are tired and feel like they are in a fog.

As they get older they get a little bit better but mom and dad are always faced with the question: let them sleep or wake them up? Deal with crabby now or deal with a five am wake up?

Grrr. No good option. The one good thing is that the more times you do it the better you get at it.

Jet lag or not the holidays are in full swing at this house. I am so happy to be home for Christmas. I haven't been in the States for Christmas for three years. There is something about this holiday that is just better when you are at home. Every culture has its different way of celebrating and when you don't get to see what you are used to you get home sick....

In Europe there are very few lights. The city usually decorates with lights but houses don't. The Spanish don't have Christmas trees or sugar cookies or decorated houses. In fact, presents come wrapped in paper from the store and no one has cheesy Christmas mugs or plates. There are no candy canes or Hershey peppermint kisses or honey baked ham....

Not to say that Christmas there isn't fun and festive. The Spanish really know how to have a party. In fact they pretty much celebrate Christmas for two weeks straight! It is just different.

So this year I am taking in the American festivities and filling up my memory box for the years to come that I won't be here. I am drinking coffee from a reindeer mug and eating Hershey kisses and puppy chow and honey baked ham and scalloped potatoes and sugar cookies. I am shopping and taking in all the cheap pricing and envisioning what my life would be like living back home. I am trying to get only English to come out of my mouth and showing my girls all the traditions. They have played in snow for the first time, we are going to go sledding, they have tried honey baked ham (and hated it!) and eaten cookies and decorated a tree. Today we are going to make a snowman and eat candy canes and decorate cookies and listen to Christmas carols and watch the snow come down.

And fill up their memory boxes with American Christmas memories...

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