When I left for Texas the day before Christmas Eve, I couldn’t bring myself to say that I was going home for the holidays or that I was visiting Texas… Using those phrases seemed as weird to me as not saying “y’all,” which all y’all know that I use that term countless times a day. Until I moved to New Jersey this past summer, Texas was my ONLY home and travelling meant visiting other places, but all that has changed.At times, I feel like Alice in Wonderland… I’m in a whole new world experiencing life in a whole new way. Every day is an adventure. And this past week was an adventure as big as Texas itself!
The chaos started when I was at the Philadelphia airport, on the busiest travel day of the year. In the hustle and bustle of the holiday crowd, I left my laptop at security. In a panic I ran back. Approached one of the agents in the line I had just been in and told him I had left my laptop. He asked what it looked like. I looked at him puzzled and said, “How many laptops do you have?” He wasn’t amused. Once I described it, he retrieved it and wanted me to verify that it was mine. I opened it up and showed him my picture on the locked screen, said, “that’s me!” and grabbed it. That didn’t amuse him either. But I didn’t get arrested or yelled at.
After picking up some Philadelphia Christmas ornaments for my family, headed to the gate, boarded a direct flight and everything went smoothly until I landed in Dallas. I texted my sisters to tell them the arrival gate for my flight. There was pause. The reply I received was “Oh no! You are at Dallas Love! We are so sorry.” I started looking around and realized it didn’t look like DFW airport at all. I laughed, called my sisters and said, “It’s fine. I’m not mad. I didn’t even realize I was flying into Dallas Love either! Just assumed it was DFW.” We all had a good laugh.
I jumped into my sister’s SUV and we headed straight to Mi Cocina for Mexican food! En route to the restaurant we didn’t skip a beat catching up on much needed sister time! It was so good to be with my sisters after six months of not seeing them or spending time with them.
It goes without saying that I devoured the beef enchiladas and beef taco. While I don’t care for chili sauce, it was still the best enchiladas I’ve had since leaving Texas! It occurred to me that I should’ve packed nothing but yoga pants and leggings since they were stretchy. Because I planned on eating as much Mexican food and brisket as I could during the week. And I did.
The next morning, my nephews woke me up bright and early with the biggest, tightest hugs they’ve ever given me. Even though it was Christmas Eve it felt like Christmas morning seeing their precious faces in person. Spent the morning with them playing, getting a tour of the house with the Christmas decorations and meeting Tommy Boy, their playful new cat.
Later in the day, after seeing my parents and setting the kids up to bake cookies, I went to Waco to shop with my sisters. Shopping in Waco is a time-honored tradition for us to do together. Besides picking up some last minute Christmas gifts, the three of us posed for a picture with Santa. Turns out his lap was not big enough for the three of us, not even two of us. I slid off to the side after trying to awkwardly and uncomfortably sit on his lap. It got even more awkward after he leaned in said, “Don’t make me tickle you.” My baby sister didn’t fare so well and ended up having to stay on his lap. Bless her heart, our picture will forever commemorate said awkwardness. Think Elf on a Shelf pose.
Being with my entire family on Christmas Eve was a gift within itself, especially after having not been with them on Thanksgiving. My mom was gracious enough to make all of my favorite dishes that I love and my brother in law brought a brisket that was the best one yet.
Waking up Christmas morning with my nephews running in saying, “Nita, it’s Christmas! Get up!” was priceless. Their enthusiasm and excitement opening their gifts and stockings was endearing. And I loved that they included a stocking for me (that they picked out and decorated) on the mantle, which was filled with drawings and gifts from them. While I missed getting to spend the rest of the day with them, I enjoyed breakfast at my other sister’s house and then having dinner at my brothers house with his family and my parents.
The rest of the week flew by with my nephews waking me up every morning at 7am to play with them. And then excursions to spend time with family and as many of my friends as possible, whom I have missed dearly! Of course I didn’t get even pics with them! Didn’t seem like there was enough time to spend with everyone and catch up, which makes me grateful for technology since I can keep in contact with everyone via phone and social media.
My sister thought it was funny when I said that I felt like I got to see all of the sights of Texas that I needed to see… wide open spaces, The Texas flag, Baylor campus and stadium, the skyline of Dallas, Ft Worth Stockyards, Arlington, the Hill County Courthouse lit up in Christmas lights… (The list is long).
While I treasured my time in Texas with my many loved ones, when I flew back to Jersey, I felt like I was going home too (which may be the topic for another post at a later date). But that didn’t stop me from picking up a few items at the Dallas airport so that I could take a few pieces of Texas home with me (like a Texas-themed Starbucks cup and a Dallas Cowboys baseball cap.) I am still a Texas girl in Jersey.