Saturday, December 20, 2014

Happy to be Home for the Holidays!

This post was a guest post for the East Valley Moms' Blog.  Be sure to check them out for all things relating to the East Valley of Phoenix-they're a fantastic blog!
One of the things I first learned when I moved to Arizona 12 years ago from Canada was that nearly every person I met was a transplant.  In fact, until just a few years ago, I knew of just two people who were born here and still lived here as adults.  That’s changed some now that I live in pretty established North Central Phoenix neighborhood, but I vividly remember my days of living in Tempe and Ahwatukee knowing only people from the Midwest! 

Every Christmas, there was a mass exodus out of Arizona as we all returned “home” to our respective families and we would all reconnect in January.  There was so much comfort in those trips…reuniting with family and friends back home.  

Now that I have a little family of my own, my husband and I have opted to limit our holiday travel. I have spent several years a little uneasy with this decision because while I love NOT traveling in the thick of holiday season, I have taken a long time to feel settled here.  Some days it truly depends on which way the wind is blowing! I miss those big family dinners, those snow days, the time together with my parents or my in-laws.  I miss the togetherness.

Simply put, I get homesick. I’ve struggled with this since I arrived 12 years ago. Since there are so many of us from “away”, I’m most certain I can’t be the only who feels this way.  I’ve got a few things to share with you that have helped ease that feeling.

One thing I’ve done is to constantly remind myself that we ARE in fact “home”.  My kids are native Arizonans and whether they live here forever or not, these early days are forming their story…their memories. 

I’ve worked really hard to weave ourselves into our local community to really make this OUR home. We are heavily invested in our jobs (we are teachers), our kids’ schools and our church community.  This has made an enormous difference. My community is pretty small….I see the same people at Target, the grocery store, the coffee shop.  We are able to connect with people in our immediate neighborhood simply by reaching out and getting to know those we pass every day on the walking trail.

We work hard to make our own traditions that work for our little family.  As we went to pick our Christmas tree out at our local Whitfill Nursery, our kids shouted out with joy as they knew that familiar parking lot.  While it’s a long cry from the hikes we would take with my parents in the woods to cut down our own tree out of our forested back yard, it’s our own little family’s tradition.  It’s building those experiences for our kids and I can already see those memories sticking….from where we buy our tree, to our annual trip to ZooLights and to our time up at the Polar Express in Williams.  

Our roots here are planted now and while I get those glimpses of homesickness this time of year, they are starting to fade the more we have invested in our community and family life here.  

I’m so thankful to call THIS place HOME. 

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