Thursday, December 26, 2013

Tears and homesickness on Christmas

This Christmas, I spent a lot of time crying. I don't usually do this, but this year, it hit me hard that every single member of my blood family lives thousands of miles away, and has done so for 21 years. I myself made the choice to leave my German home to find grander adventures in America, and boy, I did. I have built a beautiful life and have packed several life times into one, it seems. When people have asked me over the years if I miss my family, I have always shrugged and said, “I guess. But I have a lot of friends and a 'family of choice' here in America, and that's even better than blood family.” I have whole heartedly believed this – until now.

I miss my sisters and their children, and my mother, who spent several days in the hospital last week without me even knowing it. My mother gave birth to four daughters in six years (bless her heart), and so we are all very close in age. Between my three sisters, they have six children, and some of them, I don't know at all. That breaks my heart, because I know I would be an amazing auntie to them. These nieces and nephews would love their crazy aunt from America.

I miss my father, whom I was estranged from for many years. The one and only time he visited me we spent hours talking and connecting, and thus mended our strained relationship.
The other day, I talked to my mother on the phone, and she mentioned that she slipped on ice and broke her wrist. I felt so sad that I couldn't be there for her, visiting her in the hospital or helping her recover afterwards.

Then I called my sister Pepe, who is one year younger than me and used to be my twin. We hadn't talked in a year. I completely broke down sobbing when I told her that I miss them. She told me that she always feels really connected to me, no matter if we talk or see each other, and that she religiously reads my blog. I didn't know that, although I did start this blog so my family in Germany could partake in our lives here. That made me cry even harder.
When I called my youngest sister Belli, she had to sniffel back tears as well.  We both know how great it would be to commiserate at the end of the day, after all our kids are finally in bed, to drink a nice glass of wine and cry about how hard it is to raise three children, but also how wondrous and joyful.

A ticket to Germany for two adults and our three children costs $7,500. Seven thousand five hundred dollars.  That's 5500 Euros.  I could buy a car with that, which I actually need to do, since mine is beaten up and has lots of miles on it. I would buy a ticket to Germany tomorrow if I had a spare several thousand dollars lying around.
So there, I said it. I miss you, my German family. For the past weeks, I have dreamed about you and my home town every single night. I love you all. Put that in your google translator thingy.

We hiked in the Alps all the time.  Here is us four girls with my mother.
This is us four girls with our father.  The yellow sign is for the name of a town called "Laughter".
Apart from me crying on and off throughout the Christmas holidays, we had a lovely time.  We managed to pull off Christmas without tears (apart from mine), and it actually felt quiet and holy.
I don't know about you, but I feel like Christmas has a lot of weirdness attached to it. And I'm not even talking about the crazy commercialization of this holiday. I'm talking about all the expectations of having to make Christmas special for everyone, when, in fact, it can be quite challenging to live up to the “ideal” of Christmas, or to host a group of people called family under one roof for more than one night.

Christmas is magical for most kids, and that's how it should be.  But for us adults, it's often stressful to get our houses ready for visitors, or travel to visit family, or buy the perfect presents, bake christmas cookies, find and decorate the perfect tree, deal with our childhood memories around Christmas if this wasn't a happy time...

Oh boy, now I've done it.  I managed to turn this blog post into a depressing monologue.  (Excuse me, I have to find a handkerchief to sob into).

Okay.  I'm back (sniff).  The moral of this story?  What I really mean to say...
I don't know.

I do know that love is a strange thing.  It grabs us at inconvenient times.  I mean, this homesickness could have waited til summer, when I could have cried into the fragrant soil while digging in my vegetable garden, feeling virtuous, instead of in this dark time when I want to hide behind the refrigerator and eat chocolate.
Love is incomprehensible.  It remembers, even if we don't.  And I like knowing that my blood family cares and misses me, too, even though I didn't think they do.

Wanna start collecting money for a plane ticket?


  1. This is a really good post Corina! I actually have thought of you several times this past week as I have found myself in a similar feeling of sadness this year, not getting to go see family because we can't seem to find an extra $150 in our budget for gas to get down there, not to mention my two nephews in Missouri I haven't met, and three of my children my brother hasn't met. I miss family. LOVE my life here but you are right, the holidays has a weird way of bringing you back to those fond/not so fond childhood memories. Christmas is such a magical day for children, or not so magical for some. And I think we start seeing things through the glasses of a child and it brings back a flood of memories and emotions, even regret sometimes. I caught up in the moment of "Christmas" yesterday but every one of my siblings called me (notice I didn't call them which made me feel kind of sad), but I had a nice chat with each of them, and we even skyped with my brother's kids which is always such a great way to connect with them. Just wanted to say, that I'm there with you, I think this post resonates with a lot of people. Bless you and your beautiful family Corina! Thanks for sharing your heart :)

    1. Ohh, dear Jenni, I hear you! Thanks for validating my feelings, and I really know what you were experiencing. It's complicated, isn't it?
      You have such a beautiful way with words - you described this so well in your reply!
      Much love to your sweet family, dear!

    2. Love you too! And yes, it IS complicated :) I had a good cry the night before Christmas Eve, my poor hubby was probably beside himself with how to help me. He asked me if I was okay and I said "No." :) But oddly, in the morning I felt so much better. I think sometimes we need to just let off a steam of emotions, sadness, and even hurt. For me most of the time when I can just air it out a bit and be heard it brings me some healing and I can function for a few more months until the next "steam vent". I honestly wish I wasn't like that. I wish I could just manage my feelings daily and not have to fall into a puddle of tears every so often, but I can't say how thankful I am that I have a husband who will listen and not try to fix me. A priceless gift! I think Steve must be similar to Chris, he seems like a very dear man and you are so blessed to have such a great partner in this life!

  2. Dear Corina, I appreciate your vulnerability and transparency coming from a loving heart and allowing the tears to bless the gifts of being part of the human race. It is good to feel the sadness and underneath that the deep love of connection that is at the heart of it all. Perhaps you can have a family reunion somewhere in the middle where no one has to travel so far. Our family is spread out all over the world too, and we do plan a family reunion every other year so we can all connect. We tried doing a cruise this year, but I think next time we will find an all-inclusive resort that we can take care of all the meals and activities without the limitations of being on a ship. I think your blog is a great idea to bring your family into your life. It is a challenge to be physically far away from loved ones. Nowadays you can do Skype and Google+ to talk to people from great distance. I just Skyped with my niece in Paris and we talked for a couple of hours and it was very heart-connecting to experience each other in that way. Sending much love and thanks for sharing your life with us. May your journey continue to unfold with ease, love, and deep connections. Hugs!

    1. Dear Tuyet,
      Yes, it's true that the underneath the tears is a deep connection and love, so it feels kind of bitter sweet...
      Skype doesn't work where I live, because I'm in the boonies, and our internet isn't fast enough... I think I just have to make more of an effort to take advantage of Skype, maybe going to a friend's house and using their internet. It takes a huge amount of planning, with the time zone difference and all...
      Hugs back to you!