We are full tilt into the holiday season and I couldn’t be happier.
My mood marks an abrupt change from previous years: Usually, as soon as the seasonal decor begins to appear on store shelves I find myself getting more and more depressed, sinking deeper into my melancholy until at last New Year’s springs me back into the realm of the cheery.
In the past, I chalked up my yearly holiday funk to homesickness. After all, everybody yearns to be with their family when it comes to the holidays — and mine all live up in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Well, almost all of them.
At the beginning of October this year my family and I welcomed one more person into the fold — my sister, Danielle.
Now, in the normal course of things, siblings are generally introduced in early adolescence and have years — if not a lifetime — to get to know one another.
By the time they’re adults, your sibling are your best friends, your worst enemies and your constant companions who know all your secrets.
But my family has never been one to do things “normally.”
Danielle and I have never met in person and have spent the past 36 years apart. Through video chat and social media we’ve been attempting to make up for lost time but we’re still at the point where we’re only presenting each other with the carefully constructed facades of our lives.
In other words, I haven’t introduced the “real” Kasie to her and I strongly suspect I haven’t met the “real” Danielle.
We don’t know each other.
But we’re about to have a crash course.
At the end of the month I’m meeting my Mom and we’re flying to Florida to spend a week with my sister — and I find I’m so excited, I can hardly sit still.
Now that the calendar page has finally turned to December and I can see the departure date getting closer and closer, I have something to look forward to. I find myself acting like a little kid, X-ing off the days one by one with a big red Sharpie.
It’s this excitement and anticipation that I think has been keeping my traditional holiday blues at bay.
After all, what better way to ring in the new year than with my “new” older sister?
In the meantime though, there’s still things that must be done, despite the fact my brain has already checked out and boarded that flight to Tampa.
Chanukkah is early this year (Dec. 12) and I’m not done shopping yet for my boys — nor have I wrapped anything. I did manage to get the house decorated but there’s still plenty of cookies and sweet breads to bake, gifts to be bought and mailed to out of town relatives and my work schedule to arrange.
Then there’s the endless litany of holiday dinners to attend, parades to photograph and meetings to cover — tasks made all the more difficult when all you can think about is getting out of town at the end of the month.
I should welcome these tasks as distractions to keep me busy until the 30th gets here, but in reality, I find myself getting more and more impatient for them to be over.
For my kids’ sake, I’m tying to slow down and just enjoy the season with them.
I keep telling myself New Year’s will come in its own time, just as it does every year. Being in a big rush about it isn’t going to make it come any faster, it’s only going to serve to annoy and frustrate me more.
It took almost 40 years for Danielle and I to find each other — surely we can wait another 24 days …
Kasie Strickland is a staff writer for The Sentinel-Progress and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent the newspaper’s opinion.