E's family is *very* social. Every time we visit, there are parties we never expected to attend where we are always the least well dressed. Of course, everyone is so happy we came, and gracious, and welcoming, and it almost makes us want to come back next time better dressed.
The problem, of course, is that it just isn't that important to us and we are only here every 2 years. So, it falls off the list. Similarly, every year, we receive these gorgeous holiday cards from the majority of our friends, and every year, we say, "Oh! How gorgeous! Next year! Next year, we are going to do holiday cards!"
Somehow, it never happens, and the closest to a holiday card that folks get from us is an evite to BBQ season.
We have no excuse. We have all the addresses. We take pictures that would work wonderfully. And yet, for whatever reason, it never makes our top priority list.
Maybe next year...
Tonight, just like when we receive the holiday cards, we accepted the invitation to a Southern Boxing Day party and thought, "we should do that next year." I, for one, was amazed that I had never celebrated Boxing Day. What a brilliant idea! We showed up with food for the hungry to be distributed by affiliated churches *after* the holidays. You know, when they *really* need it.
Say what you will about the South. The folks I have met really do have a charitable spirit that exceeds any I have encountered in my Californian existence. I am impressed.
So,I think this set of holidays in the South will go down as the year I finally made my peace with the South. Until now, I fought it. But now, I love it here. I adopted what I love (which, in fairness, is part of the reason I fell in love with my husband), and I finally had enough courage to be my own person while here, to challenge them to love me for who I am against their grain just as I love them for who they are.
It seems to be working out.
It doesn't hurt that today, Boxing Day, the day after the traditional Southern Christmas, we slept in, which apparently, is what one is supposed to do, according to the experts (we're on it for the future!) and then, we went to lunch with a long lost friend who left the bay area -- who, in fairness, is the one who deserves credit for E's and my introduction.
This afternoon, after the required reunion lunch at Waffle House, after I ate myself silly on scattered, smothered, covered, diced, peppered hash browns, I left the boys to laugh and chat, and, much to each of their surprise did an 8 mile loop in the hills of Atlanta (despite the stories, there are enough sidewalks, and I think it could be just as pedestrian as our hometown), and from there we went to the Boxing Day party, where we ate small bits of food 'til we'd all had entirely too much.
Overall, I'm happy. The weather, coupled with my health, meant I could run 8 miles today on a whim. Tomorrow, no doubt, I'll have work, or something. But for today, it was perfect: sleep in, lunch at waffle house with a long lost friend, a medium long run through the city and cold, boxing day party, and late night at home. I got to speak to my mom, sister, and niece. They delivered messages from my brother, uncles, etc, and I was content.
Happy Boxing Day to all.