The time between Christmas and New Year’s Day is one of my favorite times. The hard work is done—the gifts, the Santa, the parties and the work that pays for it all. We nearly always go to Ohio for this week—visiting my husband’s family. We missed twice—once when I was forbidden to leave the state (or my bed) when pregnant with Chloe and again right after Nicholas was born (and I forbid myself from traveling).
I love our time with Mike’s parents. We’ll miss my nieces and nephew this year; which makes me a bit heartbroken . But, it will still be a wonderful time, together.
There is basically nothing to do in Ohio. I mean there are things here and there; but it is nothing like New Jersey with our town life and Philadelphia right over the river and New York sort of up the road a spell. In Ohio, everything is at least 20 minutes away (and no one thinks that is a long drive. I get cranky at the 8-minute mark driving around my radius). It’s a different place.
However, it does not matter whether Ohio is amazing or not; because my in-laws are amazing and whereever they are, we are, as often as we can. Family is really important—roots and relationships and ancestral bonds are things I want my children to have. I want them to have my stories and Mike’s. And those stories are written in our families, all over the country.
I’ve grown to love the nothingness of the week. At first, I was very resistant to it. I wanted to go and explore and get to know Cleveland and all the places. But, now, I love what I always, jokingly call, “desolate Ohio.” I know if anyone from Mike’s family reads this, they will be mortally offended (in the way I am offended by Jersey jokes) But, trust me: if you are from Jersey, Ohio in the winter, even in its most populated, feels a little desolate.
And I love it.
I am so busy the 51 other weeks of the year—when we come to Ohio, my mind quiets. We spend time together. We eat. We watch Hallmark movies. We drink. We cook. We laugh, so much. We get to know each other a little bit more. I read at least 3-4 books. My kids deepen their relationship with their father’s family and make memories and stories to share with their children. It is a week of rooting that only happens in this quiet week in-between.