When I was a little girl, I convinced my mom to let me decorate my whole room in fairies. I had fairy books, fairy posters and little white fairy lights. Sometimes, at night, I would come into my room for bed and pretend the fairies had come and moved my curtains just a tiny bit - and I was the only one who noticed.
Christmas gives me the same feelings I used to get when the fairies came. This year will be my first in California in five years. Yesterday was the first holiday in five years that my parents, my brothers and I have all been together at home in California to celebrate with our extended family. Grandma cried saying she was thankful for it before prayer.
I was worried I would hurt on Thanksgiving. This year was the year boyfriend was going to meet everyone, and it didn't happen - obviously.
Instead, my cousin Alex showed up from Davis and helped me decorate the tables. We ate cinnamon rolls and had coffee.
Instead, my second cousin's fiance and I did dishes together, and we laughed when I got him all wet washing wine glasses.
Instead, Sam took crooked pictures of me while I lit candles.
Instead, I played dominoes with my family until midnight.
Instead, Alex and I sat and laughed and had a glass of wine together.
Instead, my grandfather read my veteran's day blog out loud to everyone, and said it was the best veteran's day he ever had, thanks to me.
Instead, my uncle nudged me, said "that's a real compliment," and smiled.
This year, I'm thankful for the things that make me feel like fairies again - like Max being healthy after relapsing again earlier this year, and realizing that there's so much love in my family I couldn't possibly feel lonely. Like laughing with Jorie today, after not seeing her for months, and tonight, when my friend Nate took me out to dinner and a movie on his motorcycle. Like how I felt the cold air whipping my face as we made our way up I-80, closed my eyes, and pretended I was flying. Or like how I feel when I realize that I get Christmas with my grandparents for the first time since I was 15, and the fact that I've never had a Christmas morning with them - and this year we get to share that. I don't know that anything about the world around me is different, but inside I am. The sunsets have color. Coffee smells better. My sheets are softer. I laugh louder.
Maybe it's the time of year, or maybe it's that my life is waking up again, but I'm finding magic in my days.
10 things I'm thankful for this weekend:
1. New beginnings
2. Elvis Presley's Christmas album, and all the Christmas mugs Gramma brought down from the top shelf today
3. A huge box full of my winter clothes that daddy found in storage
4. My bestie, Jor, being up for the weekend
5. Motorcycle rides
6. Friends that work as managers at ski resorts, and Alex. When I told Alex I had free lift tickets, he just stared at me, and then quietly mouthed the word "slut." Cousins are the best...
7. Pumpkin pie left overs
8. Sam, who ran up to my great uncle John, who has a massive white beard, and yelled "You're not really Santa Clause, you just WISH you were!" right as everyone was grabbing hands for prayer before dinner.
9. Maxwell, my 7 year old cousin, who was well enough to celebrate thanksgiving with our family (Max was diagnosed with Leukemia at age two, and relapsed for the second time earlier this year).
10. Three hour late night phone conversations that make me giggle
(photos via weheartit.com)