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The Best Gift This Season

Imagine you’re riding in a covered wagon, bumping along happily when suddenly the horses are spooked … they take off, out of control … you lose your grasp on the reins and find yourself clinging to the floorboards begging for it all to stop.

That’s a picture of what the last month has been like for us.

We were bumping along happily in California when the RV broke. H-E-double hockey sticks wasn’t far behind – waiting for the repairs put us way behind schedule for a speaking engagement Rod had in Chicago. As soon as we got the Winnebago back, we made a mad dash to the east. The dogs and I caught our breath at my parent’s home in western Wisconsin while Rod caught the iron horse to Chicago.

Upon Rod’s return, the calamity began again. This time we were careening toward Pennsylvania. Upon our arrival at Rod’s mom’s house we … pulled the RAV4 out of storage and got it running again … unloaded the RV and dropped it off for it’s state inspection … had brunch with an old friend, thanks to Facebook … drove to Philly for a tree trimming party with family … drove back to Reading for the annual meet-up of Rod’s high school classmates … prepared Thanksgiving dinner for our family in Reading … packed an overnight bag and drove back to Philly to visit the vet, have a family dinner, stay at the Sofitel Hotel, have tea and catch up with a good friend, see the dentist, and go to the chiropractor … drove back to Reading to pick up the RV and repack … had dinner with another friend who’d gotten married since we’d last seen him (Congratulations, Bob and MaryAnn!) … and finally got back on our way.

It’s like the horses have run themselves out, and we’ve been able to grab the reins again. We proceeded at a leisurely pace to Charlotte, North Carolina, where we are safe from the freezing temperatures bound for those northern climes. Everything about being in the Winnebago feels new and at the same time comfortable and familiar.

I can breath again.

Spending time with family and friends is like a vortex. I feel myself being pulled toward a life in which we live in one place. Where I can call up my sisters and have brunch any weekend. But, where shopping for a new sofa is a priority, and walking the dogs to the same places every day becomes tedious. There are trade-offs.

And, I remember that when we lived in the same city, I’d go for weeks without seeing my sisters. The same was true for Rod’s mom. We were busy then – too busy to make time for the simple things. We thought we’d have … forever.

Things are different now. We know there are only a limited number of days – and though the schedule is crazy, the moments are precious.

It’s a gift.

And one that would be desperately hard to hold on to if we lived in one place.

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