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Obligation Vacation

November 14, 2008

Laura’s Blog Entry

Earlier this summer I was toying with the idea of an “obligation vacation.” Kind of like a “relationship vacation” from guilt. I’d been thinking that if I had any guts AT ALL I would quit doing everything outside of normal, reasonable family responsibilities for a set period. I could then recalibrate and reevaluate the things on which I focus all my attention.

But of course I didn’t have the guts. At least not yet.

My perspective seems to have gotten a bit fuzzy. I have been doing so many things unquestioningly for a very long time. Or doing them out of guilt. Nasty, nasty guilt. Finally it seems it might be the right time to take that vacation.

One result of this is that Neil and I are considering breaking an 18-year tradition of how we celebrate the holidays. We have alternated between his family and mine on Thanksgiving and Christmas. We go to one family for Thanksgiving, the other for Christmas, then switch the next year.

Well, we are fairly sure we’re not going to make the nine-hour trip for Thanksgiving. I could list a bunch of reasons why, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is that we are making a change and not traveling this year. Before we had Mari, and I was working, it was a welcome break to get away from my job; put some distance between me and my responsibilities for a bit. Our lives are very different now. And we seem to require lots more down time than we used to.

The thought of Thanksgiving without a huge obligation – packing, driving, unpacking – looks so attractive. We hope our families can understand; we need to make a change. I want to wake up in my own bed on Thanksgiving. I want Mari not to spend a large part of a holiday in the car.  I want to cook for a bunch of good friends who are getting together for a potluck dinner. I want to only have to drive 15 minutes to get there.

All those “I wants” make me a bit twitchy. I feel really selfish. But I think I am going to go with the selfish this time.

I’m feeling braver as I go along. Another big decision is that I am not planning to do my massive cookie baking this year. I still love everyone on the recipient list, but last year the whole production went to epic proportions. I am glad that I made all the cookies last year, and sent them to far-off lands, but I need to pull back this year and just make a few batches. Maybe do some gingerbread ornaments and some other things that there just hasn’t been time for in many years.

As I write this I am breathing a sigh of relief. It’s hard to resist the urge to justify each and every decision, but this is the right decision.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2008 5:37 pm

    It is the right decision. It takes a great amount of time and effort to get to that place but it is well worth it. Michael and I are finally having the Thanksgiving I always dreamt of. He and I and four other friends in our home. I will make the turkey and such and everyone will contribute their own traditional saide dish. It will be a full day of eating, drinking laughing, watching movies, napping…a perfect Thanksgiving in my book. My “family” will be just fine without me. 🙂

  2. Sue permalink
    November 14, 2008 7:47 pm

    We made the decision years ago to spend Christmas day at home. The year before that we had eaten breakfast at one home, lunch at another and dinner somewhere else. The kids would I’m sure have preferred to stay home and play with their new toys, and I was so full of food from trying not to let anyone down that I was physically sick… Never again… The following year we stayed home and every year since then too. If anyone wants to see us on Christmas day, they can come and visit us, they know where we live. 🙂 Go for it Laura put yourself and your family first.


  3. Bryan permalink
    November 14, 2008 11:37 pm

    As someone who will horribly miss your fine cookie creations I give you a very hearty, unabashed go for it. Sometimes you gotta reassess. Now of course if you want to send that chocolate cherry cookie goodness recipe my way (for what? the third time?) I won’t complain.

    We have it so easy, with one set of parents in town and the other 10+ hours away in one direction. Even that gets to be a pain sometime.

  4. November 15, 2008 5:27 pm

    Bryan, it’s a deal. I will send you the recipe. Does this mean you won’t make me any Mexican wedding cookies and buckeyes, though? Maybe I should rethink this whole thing.

  5. Heather permalink
    November 18, 2008 8:02 pm

    I’ll miss those yummy cookies but *do not* feel the least bit guilty. This sort of change isn’t easy. But neither is 9 hours in the car. It sounds like you gave this plenty of thought and are doing what you think is best. Now of course, if you decide to move to PA, the trip would be a whole lot shorter. And the Western PA Chapter of DM Addicts would double its membership: from 1 to 2! 😉

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