It didn't feel like we'd been away for nine days until I walked through the door last night. The house looked different. Spacious and clean and untouched. Then my family poured in the door behind me, and it started to feel familiar again.
We spent the week of Thanksgiving with friends—a 10 hour car ride plus a three hour boat ride away from here. The first half of the week was filled with clouds and rain, and then Thursday, the sun came out. Far away from home and tradition, it felt like Thanksgiving.
I didn't unplug completely while I was gone. We caught glimpses of the Macy's parade, and we watched the Clemson/Carolina game. There were even moments of searching the internet for funny clips of Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon (they are my heroes), which led to almost everyone in the beach house speaking in hashtags.
So, aside from all that, I was separated from my laptop for huge chunks of time. I still took time to read, occasionally check email, and jot down ideas in my notebook. But I didn't use my phone at all. It was freeing to untangle myself from all of that mindless checking that I do, to experience how it felt. It felt like I had space in my brain, like I had swept the floors inside my own head.
Last night, as our car inched closer to home, we were welcomed by an enormous inflatable Santa and a Christmas tree lot that wasn't there last year. We turned onto our street, and it was sparkling with twinkle lights.
"Who decorated our house?" Blake exclaimed.
"That's not our house," I said as we pulled into the driveway. "It's the neighbors' house, see?"
"Oh," he said, realizing our house was dark. But the moment we walked inside, he was ready to get started. "Let's go to the attic and get the tree!"
"Maybe we should unpack first," I said. "Maybe next weekend?"
I did, however, run out to the grocery store to feed our empty fridge. There, I was greeted by the Salvation Army bell ringer and Mariah Carey singing "All I want for Christmas is you."
And it was... nice. It was bit surreal, too—to leave before Thanksgiving and to come home and land smack in the middle of Christmas. But mostly, it was nice. Sometimes a little separation is good.
How are you handing the transition into the holiday season? Are you ready?
Check back in Thursday... I'll share my chat with bestselling author (and Charleston favorite) Mary Alice Monroe.