Holiday reflection

Our VIMG_5982ery Jersey Holiday has my family of three in a holi-daze. Fever, body aches, and stuffy headcolds . . . oh my.

As sweet 2016 is upon us, I am delighted by some holiday memories that I don’t think I would cherish as much if we weren’t in homecoming mode as now out-of-staters.

Those moments include:

  • Cooking pinakbet (Filipino vegetable dish) alongside my father-in-law in his kitchen. That he asked me to do so came as a surprise, one that took me a minute or two to welcome. Dad asked me how he should specifically chop up the calabasa (squash), garlic and onions. Never imagined sharing the experience with him.
  • My three-year-old, N., making chocolate chip cookies with her Grandma. As N. spooned cookie dough morsels onto the baking sheet, Grandma patiently and lovingly rounded them off into hearty mounds of goodness.
  • Reuniting with our favorite waitress, Taka, at our darling restaurant (Komegashi Too) where my husband and I dined on our first date. Taka, whom we saw over seven years ago, remembered my Dad fondly last when we altogether celebrated Mom’s December birthday.
  • A walk along the Hudson River promenade with seagulls confused by the warmth and singing in a tizzy, as we recounted to our daughter her mama and dad’s first date.
  • The ginger bread house that just wouldn’t stay put as N. and Lola tried desperately to build one in the warmest holiday weather. Icing and walls fell apart way too easily! So we decorated what we could of a deconstructed ginger bread home.
  • Recognizing Mr. Johannsen at the downtown Jersey City hotel parking garage. He was the same man who used to take our tickets and payments at the commuter parking garage when A. & I both worked in Manhattan. Nine years since we’d moved out of Jersey City, and we learned that he would be soon relocating his family to Fairfax County in Virginia too. Who knows? We just might bump into him at the local plaza (in our now home state of Virginia).
  • The delight N. displayed in spending time with her cousins — mats, toys and vintage goodies strewn about in a basement playroom. Every time, we checked in with her, she confidently shooed us, “Go away. Don’t look at me!” She just didn’t want us busting in on her fun.

The holidays can be filled with much undo pressure that take away from any kind of meaningfulness. Few holiday memories are about gifts. They are simply more about the connections we make with old acquaintances and loved ones.

How did you keep your holidays simple and special?

Happiest sweet ’16. May you be inspired, and may your heart sing in appreciation of every breath.

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