I haven’t always been a Scrooge. I loved Christmas when I was growing up and couldn’t wait to celebrate the season as an eighteen year old newlywed. But the now ex was a bit of a curmudgeon and each year that passed without spending the holidays with my family or children of our own made it that much harder to keep up the holiday spirit. Christmas with the in-laws always included short tempers and screaming matches. Of course it was easier to skip the decorating and not mail out cards.
Fourteen years of being a Scrooge is a hard habit to break. When Mark started decorating the townhouse, I couldn’t help but snicker and roll my eyes. Garland and lights on the handrail? Poinsettia in the downstairs bathroom and a wreath on the front door? I have to buy a stocking too??
But then I was humming along to his Christmas playlist, and I was asked to join the Gingerbread Lalas for the gingerbread house decorating contest at work. We cut down our own tree and sipped hot apple cider as we drove away from the christmas tree farm. Almost every evening was spent cuddling on the couch, while the lights twinkled around us. I watched Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer for the first time in over twenty years.
Mark already wrote about Christmas Eve in Newburg and our Christmas morning of gifts, breakfast, Mimosas, dinner at the Parental’s house, and wrapping presents on the bed while sipping hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps and watching A Christmas Story. It may not seem like a big deal, but it was during our present wrapping when I realized that Mark had managed to bring out years of suppressed Christmas spirit.
We really are a perfect match. We compliment each other in every way and while I was a bit skeptical the day after Thanksgiving, I’m grateful that my boyfriend is giddy for Christmas and I no longer dread the merriment of the holidays.
Aside from feeling grateful for all life has given us lately, there hasn’t been too much else going on. The new job is great and keeps me busy. We had a record month in November and as an incentive to catch up on back-logged loans and avoid end-of-month bottlenecking, we had the opportunity to earn triple overtime pay. The incentive was extended through December 31st, but apparently it worked because my drawer is half empty and I worked my regular schedule this last week. I just hope my loan officer is staying busy and sends up lots of new files soon.
I’ll be heading to Vegas in a few weeks. I had booked a trip to visit Mark last winter and it was subsequently cancelled when I decided to quit my job and move to Washington. I now have a credit with Southwest Airlines that will expire the end of January. My dad and sister have birthdays that fall close to the MLK Jr. holiday, so I’m going to take advantage and spend the weekend with family and friends. I’m not thrilled that I’m going alone, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit excited for some much needed girl time.
As 2012 draws to a close, I can’t help but feel a sense of awe at how this leap of faith worked out so perfectly. Mark read one of my earlier posts, written shortly before I moved, and he commented on how down I was. I remember feeling so emotional, stressed, and scared. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my loved ones back in Nevada. I miss them all so much and wish Ely was just a few hours closer so we could visit more often. But…as hard as it is to be apart from them, I’m also revelling in this new life Mark and I are making for ourselves. I love that I get to spend time with my adorable nephew and I’ve seen my mom more times in the last year than I have in the last ten years combined. I love that Portland and Vancouver has so much to offer; music, festivals, food, shopping, hiking… There’s no excuse for being bored here. We’re already planning new adventures for 2013 and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us.
I truly thank you for your support this year. It’s been a rollercoaster and I can’t express enough how much of a difference it makes to have someone that will hug me when I cry, laugh at my silly jokes, cheer me on through the tough times, and still be interested through the boring times. I love you all and wish you the best in the new year.