Home for the Holidays

by Amelia Kanan

Those cheeks kill me.

I didn’t want to be the first one to walk in. The tears were tucked right behind my eye lids and I knew the minute I saw their faces, they would lose their grip. For as much as I cry, I’m not comfortable doing it in front of people. I prefer crying alone in the mirror where I can talk to myself while doing it. But, I was right. As soon  as I walked in and heard the excitement in my name being yelled “Mia’s here!”. I batted my eyes as I made my rounds of hugs and kisses.

Everyone sat around in Grandma’s living room, snuggled close on couches, on the stoop of the fireplace and all over the floor as we watched old home movies from Christmas’s before my time. I sat there, listening to the stories behind the silent movies, witnessing how genuine the history, longing to be a part of a seemingly simpler time and smiling a smile to combat more tears from streaming after images appear of a now deceased Grandpa looking so young and dapper on a Christmas eve long ago. No matter how old I am, I can go right back to feeling like a child. Laying on the floor, asking questions about the memories I wasn’t there for and getting told “don’t spill on the carpet”.

It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been gone, where I’ve been and who I’ve met. All that matters is that I’m there, with them, in that moment. Laughing. Making fun of my dad for everyone’s enjoyment. Them, making fun of me for pretending to know something about football. Chasing my little cousins so I can steal more kisses. Beats don’t get skipped with family. They’ve known me longer than I’ve known myself, known my parents longer than I have and they probably (don’t let them know I admitted this) know me better than I know myself.

My parents had been waiting in the car for at least 15 minutes before I had finished my goodbyes. I was just so grateful to be able to give everyone one more hug and say one more “I love you” and the best thing of all? I got to say “I’ll see soon!” and really mean it.