Traveling (Journalwithme#14)

There’s something I really miss about the child free days and that’s being able to travel wherever and whenever budget allows. I regret not taking more trips before I had children, so if you’re still childless and want to adventure go do it now! It becomes incredibly difficult to go anywhere after you have children so please listen to me and take advantage!

This weeks question asks for you to describe a day spent abroad. It doesn’t have to necessarily be across the world, just somewhere other than your home. In the spirit of the holidays, I want to take you back to Christmas Day at my aunt and uncle’s house in a small hamlet outside of London, Ontario.

It’s the early 2000s, and we left our home the day before. We traveled eight hours in a dark green Chevrolet Venture from our home. It was cold. It was dark. It was snowing when we had arrived. We were tired, hungry and a bit stir crazy from being cooped up in the van. When we woke the next morning, the magic of the season had begun. Flash forward to around 6 am Christmas morning.

My youngest brother leapt off of his foam mattress on the floor of the basement and announced it was Christmas morning! My other brother and I quickly got out of our sleeping bags and began creeping upstairs. Before we could reach the top, my dad realized what time it was.

“Back to bed,” he ordered. The three of us swiveled our heads toward the large clock hanging on the wall. It was just after 5 am. We begrudgingly went back to our sleeping bags and lay anxiously for the next two hours. Once 7 am hit, all bets were off and we were freed from our somber sleeping bags. We raced up the wooden stairs, taking them two at a time. Immediately we ran to the sunken living room, where we took in the full effect of the tree.

It stood majestically in the corner, all 10 feet of it. The ornaments dangled gently, the lights offered a soft glow and the tinsel sparkled against the gentle light. The snow was gently falling outside and we surveyed the mass of presents piled under that enormous tree. There were boxes of all sizes, bags filled with tissue paper and little cards hidden within the branches of that beautiful tree. My youngest brother sprinted towards the tree, arms outstretched when my aunt suddenly appeared, rollers still in her hair from the night before.

“You need to wait for your uncle,” she scolded and continued her walk toward the kitchen. We watched her as she watched us from the cutout in the wall, pouring a cup of steaming coffee. My youngest brother just couldn’t wait anymore. Along with my two cousins, they walked down the long hallway into my aunt and uncles room and gently roused him.

“Uncle,” they whispered. He continued snoring.

“Uncle!” They said more urgently. His eyes shot open and realized what was happening. He reached for his slippers and followed us into the living room. He put on his signature Santa hat, was handed a cup of coffee and sank into his recliner. This was the symbol to begin unwrapping our stockings.

After a mountain of stocking tissue paper was cleared away, my uncle looked at me and handed me a second Santa hat. As the eldest cousin, it was my job to pass out the large presents. He read out the names and I passed the gift to the name on the tag. After we all opened our little pile of gifts, it was time for breakfast.

My mother always made this breakfast pie on Christmas morning. It’s so darn tasty. Find the recipe here. After we chowed down, we all gathered and examined each other’s presents. My aunts and mom would begin preparing Christmas dinner, and my uncles and father were tasked with taking the kids and the dogs for a Christmas walk.

After we ate a delicious Christmas dinner, we played board games. When I was younger it was always child friendly games like Sorry, or Guess Who. As I got older, we realized the games our parents enjoyed playing were more like Rummy or Scattergories. Equally as fun.

As we crept into our sleeping bags later that night, we replayed the joyous day over and over. Christmas was always a magical time of year. I always wondered what Christmas would be like whenever I became a parent myself. When I see my daughter become excited over seeing Christmas lights on houses or decorated trees in the store, I get excited knowing all the magic of Christmas is just beginning for her.

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