The Lasts.

Today is January 2, which means the holiday season is officially over.   It feels strange to have it behind me, because it’s probably one of the biggest of “The Lasts.”   You know, “the last so-and-so before we move...”  “the last so-and-so we’ll have in America…”  “the last so-and-so with our whole family…”

I’ve got this whole list of “The Lasts” in my head, and I don’t know how it got there, but I know it started with our anniversary.  We will most likely move right before our 8th anniversary in mid-August.  Which means that our 7th anniversary this past August was “The Last One,” and for some reason I was acutely aware of it.  It was like a countdown ticker started in my head. One Year Left.

Then came Halloween.  We watched all the neighbor kids dress up and ride the hayride down our street, and I thought to myself, “this is The Last One.”

Then our annual Thanksgiving with my in-laws in Chattanooga…which was even more of a “Last” because one of Nate’s brothers moved to Phoenix the next week, and Thanksgiving was the last time we would all be together for years to come.

Then a bunch of Christmas celebrations….  our church’s Christmas program, various family get-togethers, setting up our Christmas tree, Christmas Eve at my sister’s and Christmas morning at my mom’s, Christmas evening with my whole extended family at my grandmother’s.  Our annual end-of-the-year trip to Pennsylvania.

Yesterday we got back from Pennsylvania.  Tonight we’ll take down our Christmas decorations, and I’ll put my tree in a trash bag and put it on the curb. (Although I’d probably get rid of it this year either way, because its an old piece of junk and needs to be tossed.)  I’ll box up the ornaments and give them to my little sister to start her own collection.

Now we’re 8-ish months out, and the list continues.  I’m trying to soak up every drop of “The Lasts,” because I know I’ll miss them when they’re gone.  And they’re going by quickly.

I don’t know why things feel so final in my head. Because ultimately, it’s not “The Last” of anything.  It’s just the last one in America for now.  We’ll be back at some point, at least for a little while, and I’ll do all these things in the “traditional” way again.  And in the meantime, we’ll still celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years and birthdays and anniversaries in Latin America.  I’ll decorate for Christmas, though it might look a little different.  I’ll spend the holidays surrounded by people I love, though it will be a different group.  The core of it will be the same, the meaning and heart behind it all, but the wrapping will change.

To keep from getting emotional over the prospect of giving up the familiarness of my life, I’ve been reminding myself that I’m going to have a new normal.  That even though it feels like my whole world is about to get tossed around in a clothes-dryer, it will eventually settle.  I’ll get used to things.  The boys will get used to things.  This new lifestyle coming around the bend will become familiar.  My new traditions will be just as fitting and special as the old ones. Sometimes different is good.  And worth it.

Plus, I’ll have a whole list of “The Firsts” to blog about.

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