Home for the Holidays: Holiday Respite
Needing a Holiday Respite
Her talkativeness helped Jaime dismiss her own thoughts about the upcoming holidays. She smiled at how easy it was to get her friend going.
"You can bet your fancy fur parka I’m looking forward to heading home for Christmas," Allie nearly shrieked to Jaime. "It's been crazy here lately and we’ve got to get out for a while. A good solid break is what we need.
"Just look at this trek we make everyday. It’s not only long, it’s insanely risky, and it doesn't look like this route is going to change anytime soon. We both know there is an alternative but we're stuck with the decision."
Jaime looked at her friend with narrow eyes. It wan't usual for her to be quite so vocal about that topic. Ranting openly in connection with leadership wasn't her style. Clearly she was coming close to an overstressed state. It almost seemed her curly hair was going to stand on end.
"On top of that," Allie went on, "every aspect of the experiment is stalled, and they say the new director is ambitious. I need some rest if I'm going to be ready for the danger an attitude like that could generate. We need to be ready for anything when we get back."
Thinking that her friend must have been surprised by the way the expansions had been announced Jaime decided on a change of subject the first chance she could get a word in. Allie's distraction was starting to effect her own focus.
"By the time he steps in I hope he’ll be aware of the hazards that come with sudden changes. Just the fact that we have to force these guys to listen to us makes me jumpy. I hope Mr. Enthusiastic does some homework before we get back, or better yet, that the rumors about him aren't true."
This really was not like Allie. She did need a break and it was definitely time to redirect her current state of mind. Trying to provoke more pleasant thoughts in her pal Jamie exercised the power of suggestion, "So, you were home year before last, right?"
"Well, yeah," Allie paused with a sigh. "I do go home at least every other year. Dad and Mom know it’s a long trip, and that I need to unwind when I’m there, so they make sure it's a nice restful time. I don’t know that they'll ever be able to meet me over here, but I spend as many holidays at home as possible. I'm still their little girl and I love it!
"They go all out to make our time together special. I’ll call them from the airport, and they'll be looking out the window as my taxi turns down their street. They'll make a fair amount of fuss, particularly if it’s night time.
"The house will be lit up like grand central station and my parents will fling the door open to shout welcome home loud enough to wake all the neighbors on the block. Dad will even have lights on the lawn under the snow. I tell you, it's an ethereal sight."
Jaime was relieved when her friend began calming down so she encouraged her on by asking whether she would need to shop for anything before getting home.
"I never have to carry luggage. All these years and they still keep everything I need waiting for me there. The thought of my favorite jeans hanging neatly in the closet makes me want to buy a ticket tonight. All the comforts of home are calling me right now!"
Though Jaime knew, she nudged her friend to talk more about her family. "So, do you have any siblings, any nieces and nephews?"
"Oh, you know I am an only child," Allie answered with slower speech. "It has its perks, for sure, even though brothers and sisters would have been neat. It couldn’t happen for us, but my parents always made my friends welcome."
"Well," Jaime asked, "Don't your parents still want grandchildren?"
"Yeah," her friend replied. "They still want to see me married with a family, but work has prevented that, and it’s hard now. You know what I mean. I just can’t see being interested in anyone again. Ethan's accident changed everything.
"I know I'm not the only one dealing with the loss," Allie confessed softly, "but he’s gone, and I can’t see life with anyone else. I would date again if I could, but so far, I can’t. Anyway, work is interesting, and I like having our routine. It helps a lot."
Jaime began to tease Allie, hoping to keep her sidetracked. She suggested that the ratio of women to men flying out of the province's center for the holidays would be disparate, perhaps something to take advantage of. It worked to agitate Allie in the right way.
Fidgeting in place Allie cranked up again, "Now you stop that! You are so bad! I certainly do not need to meet anyone at all on a flight, especially not the flight out of here! No, no! Stop it, friend of mine, or I'll start with you! You are a chronic pest–and your hints annoy. And they make my sleepy brain even more weary. Anyway, you're too a good a friend to keep that up, so give it up!"
This line of thought was definitely better for her outspoken companion so Jaime was certainly ready to keep it up, but at present Allie was still yakking on.
"My parents understand, and yet, they do want me to meet someone. Thankfully, though, they don't have anyone specific in mind. They’re sensible, and very practical. If they knew someone they wanted me to meet, they would simply tell me. I’ll get to visit them without that worry."
Jamie smirked out loud with a soft snort.
"Well, at least I don't think they would do that to me–oh stop it! You are exasperating!"
"At least we'll put all this behind us for a while," Jaime ventured, hoping for more reasons than one that Allie wouldn't stop talking about her parents.
"I can't believe I'll be at their door in a few days. There will be hugs and kisses all 'round, with dad’s coffee calling me inside. Food will be ever present, and we’ll have peppermint cocoa by his glorious fire every night. I’ll hear 'Can I get you anything?' more times than I can answer it.
"Then, the other questions will come. 'What's new with your work?' 'What have you written lately?' 'How is your health?' Or, 'Liz came by last week,' and they’ll fill me in on all my cousins’ doings. Who lives where, and where they’re working, what their kids are up to, you know–all the grand stuff and such."
"It sounds just lovely," Jaime told her with a lingering smile playing around deep blue eyes filled with longing.
Allie prattled on, "I'll have long, warm, fragrant baths every night, and Mom always puts Bavarian chocolates on my pillow. I’ll close my eyes in the safest place on earth, and open them again to familiar sights in the morning's light. Everything on this side of the world will be behind me, for a little while at least.
"On Christmas morning the smell of Dad’s bacon and eggs will meet me in the stairwell. He's so funny. He’ll be looking out the window when I step into the kitchen, pretending to watch the birds. Smiling, my Mom won't be pretending anything. She’ll be bouncing on her toes to start the day.
"You know, with what we face throughout the year being so dangerous a solid respite is really important and the best place to get that is home. Without a break the risks we all run would be magnify tenfold."
Jaime asked her friend to remember every detail and to tell her about it when they returned.
"Sure, yeah–I know what you mean. I'll tell you if I meet anyone new. Shame on you! Just stop that giggling already! I hope you get set up for a blind date, so there! What will it be like at your parents’ house during the holidays, anyway?"
Jaime thought quietly for a moment. She didn't want her friend's spirits to plummet again. "I'll tell you about it, but now, you need to be thinking about what your parents' might be planning...", effectively exciting her friend's active brain once again.
Check out other story titles from this Home for the Holidays series in the links below:
• Fostering Care -- Home for the Holidays, Number 8
On Christmas Day our gifts were nice, yet, that day I realized that no present on earth could ever equal what being accepted as one of their family members meant to me.
• Christmas Fudge -- Home for the Holidays, Number 6
There’s a small river between the woods and the main field that I want to get reacquainted with. He and I are old friends, and I need to hear his voice again.
• The Gift of a Lifetime -- Home for the Holidays, Number 3
Adam told her he had been listening to the children breathe as they slept. A snow-bound house full of children and grandchildren was just what he and Angie needed to give them the merry Christmas they wished for.
• A Change of Plans -- Home for the Holidays, Number 1
Friends who used to run the groves and fields with me will show up. Some of them, anyway. Those who won’t be there, well, they’ll still be there.
Can You Come for Just a Bit, Come for Christmas Tea?
Some Seasonal Interest Hubs
- Christmas Music of John Rutter
Words like talented must be preceded with breathtakingly in order to do justice to John Rutter's Christmas music.
By postponing our Thanksgiving, we felt oddly apart from the rest of our country that Thursday...Robertatalloni
- Christmas Breakfast Ideas
- Happy New Year and Change the Calendar!
Every year has its joys and sorrows. It has been written that there is nothing new under the sun.