03. January 2014 · Comments Off on A vacation from the holidays · Categories: holiday

I decided to take a vacation from the holiday this year. Not a vacation over the holiday, but a vacation from the holiday. While I will go into excruciating detail with my therapist, I won’t go into many details here. She gets the juicy details, you do not – sorry. Maybe when I get around to writing a book or publishing my journal, I’ll share the details. For now, they are to remain private.

Christmas presents were bought, but without the fanfare of seasons gone by. I typically love to buy things for others. I think about it for months, purchase them or create them far in advance, then wait with a giddy smile as they open the packages from me. This year, it was very different. Since late in the summer, the stress in the house has been more than I can stand most days. It made the Christmas present season come without the normal joy or anticipation. A discussion with the wife concluded that I wasn’t to buy any large presents for anyone, but especially none for her. This pretty much took the holiday down to just waiting for it to happen with trepidation, not with anticipation. It was a very different holiday.

One of the biggest challenges this year was finding an appropriate Christmas card for my wife. Given everything going on at home, I struggled to find the Hallmark card with an appropriate greeting. While they may advertise as having the perfect cards, they do not have them for every sentiment or every occasion. I came to find out that she also struggled to find the right card this year. We exchanged cards before the kids woke up, and that was for the best so as to not have anyone question what was going on or wanting to see the card with our sentiments.

It has been a tough year for us, and I’m ready to put it behind us and have a better new year, no matter what next year brings. However, I’m glad the stress of the holidays are over and now we can just deal with moving forward once her (big) annual meeting concludes in late February.

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter decided that she wanted to run the Manchester Road Race again. It had been a couple of years since we first ran it and I thought it would be fun. It would be just her and I running since neither my wife nor son had any interest. There was the thought that this would be a run and not a walk, but my daughter’s hips have really started bothering her lately (it’s a persistent, nagging issue for her). So, run, walk, or some combination would be fine. I got to spend a couple of hours 1-on-1 with my baby girl. We would start in the 40-minutes and up coral, the last of the running corals. I’m not sure where we were in that coral, but probably too close to the front for the run/walk effort we were about to undertake. The distance is a strange (to us) 4.748 miles, surely with some interesting history behind that specific distance.

With the temperatures in the upper 20s and a blustery, northwestern wind, we left the house shortly after 8 AM. We headed to our local Dunkin’ Donuts to get her a peppermint mocha hot coffee; nothing for me since I had my share of coffee before leaving the house. Knowing that we would be waiting around for an hour or more in the freezing cold was motivation enough for me not to need to find a port-o-potty before running. We arrived at Manchester Community College’s parking lot by 8:30 and promptly found our way to the bus that would take us to the race. We were surely not dressed warm enough – a few top layers including a windbreaker, hats, gloves, and leggings with shorts on top. I was wearing my Injinji toe socks, like with any long run or race. Without anyone else with us, we had no one we could hand off our extra clothes, meaning we would need to carry anything we brought for the entire race. This was a mistake, causing us to underdress for the very blustery morning of standing around.

We arrived in the area and walked through a wicked breeze to the starting coral. We had an hour to go and we were both already freezing cold. Fortunately, the 15,000 other runners helped to break the wind but unfortunately, didn’t do much to warm us up. It would be a long wait to the start. Finally, the sun rose above the buildings to provide a slight warm up, but not enough that we were warm by a long stretch. As the minutes clicked by, it was finally time for the (three) wheelchair competitors to start. Just 15 minutes more.

The coral fences were removed and a few minutes later, the starting gun was finally fired. We were off, although neither of us could feel our toes by then. Whisked off with the fury of a normal starting line, we ran down the first street and made the first turn. It was then that my daughter’s hip popped and really started hurting. We were walking. We ran a few more times but mostly walked until the end.

While we did not end up with fast times, we got to spend more than an hour walking together and chatting a bit. I won’t have these opportunities forever, so take each one I can. I am thankful on this holiday season, that I get to spend times like this with at least one of my children. Next year, who knows how things will play out, so living in the moment is the best I can do for now.