… and all through the state
every hostess was stressing,
staying up much too late.
After a day of assorted yucky things at work, I began my descent into the ugly mire that is the holidays.  
I drove to Pennsylvania to retrieve my daughter from college, and I broke my golden rule by tuning in Christmas carols before Thanksgiving.  I belted out melodies from my childhood and crooned along with new artists singing oldies but goodies.  I actually started to feel a bit better.  I made a conscious decision to choose happiness this year.  I reminded myself that none of the things I thought I might be missing out on could ever give me the deep joy I seek, and that the key to “the most wonderful time of the year” lay inside of me and nowhere else.  Fuck the holly jolly Christmas and Kay Jewelers commercials. 
My daughter and I had a nice chat on the ride home, and I started to feel like my little family was whole again with her presence.  Her sister greeted her happily, but the very best part of the homecoming was when my young son realized we were back and flew down the steps lickity-split to reunite with one of his favorite people in the world.  He hugged her a little shyly and sported a goofy grin as she sized him up and gushed over how tall he is.  Hours later, the television is off, and the two of them are reconnecting in a beautiful way with the dog curled up contentedly beside them.  
He loves her so very much.
Tomorrow I will join the throngs of grocery shoppers at dawn to make my final purchases for the big meal, then I will begin cooking.  Whatever gets done is done, and whatever doesn’t is not going to stress me out. 
Thursday morning will begin with a slow, easy run to center myself and open my heart to the day. 
I will not be freezing my ass off in line at Best Buy for a big-ticket item on Thursday night after dinner; I will be snuggling with my family in front of a fire.  I will not fight the crowds at the mall on Friday; I will be filling my heart with memories of all of the joy the Universe brought to me in 2012 and with dreams of what lies beyond in 2013.  I mean, it was a pretty fucking fantastic year, for crying out loud.  Thanksgiving Day is my day. 
  
And we’ll just take the rest of the holiday season one grateful step at a time.  Sorta like a weekend long run over the river and through the woods.  Yeah.

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