My favorite part of the Christmas holidays is walking into our local grocery store, Wegmans, in our small town and seeing the familiar faces of the “kids” home for Christmas. When I say “kids” I don’t just mean the college kids home on break but rather the grown adult children of our friends and neighbors who moved out of town so far that the only time they get back home is during the holidays. It’s as if the whole town comes to life once more as these familiar and yet new faces pop back up. Every time I turn the corner of an aisle with my cart there’s another warm hug, another “you look great, welcome home” greeting.
I can’t imagine what it must feel like for these folks to come back to the place where you grew up. In some ways, I’m sure it’s a comforting soothing feeling like putting on an old pair of jeans that you know will fit just right. But in other ways, for some, its stepping back to a time when everyone knows what you were like in childhood. In your new world you can be anyone you want. As an adult these “kids” have make their mark on the world in their career, with their own children, etc. But back home, especially in a small town, you really are always that same awkward teen or that pain in the butt kid who annoyed everyone. It doesn’t matter if you closed a $1M deal in finance, or you’re the new President of your company - you will always be “Burt and Sally’s” kid who crashed his folk's new car into the town sign when he was fifteen. In other words, you will always be a kid.
But whether these returning townfolk love it or hate it, coming home for the holidays is a time for joy and memories and for me and others who stayed here a feeling of completeness. I know in my own house nothing feels quite right until all 3 of my sons are back under my roof. It’s as if all the pieces of the puzzle have been returned to the table. Anyone with grown children probably understands what that means.
So for the holidays, here’s to all the “kids” who are going home and to the Moms who are welcoming them with smiles and open arms. Enjoy the holidays.
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