Thursday, December 10


Tomorrow morning, my mother and sister are leaving for the U.K. for the first time in eleven years. Eleven years ago, it was only a bittersweet, week-long trip in the middle of June. My last Christmas in England was 1991. Six months later, we packed up our home, and moved to a small town in the Southern United States. It's amazing that my eight-year-old Christmas memories are still so strong, but they are some of my most vivid and beautiful, and for that I am grateful. They are the memories that make Christmas my favorite time of year - I love those old carols, the faded decorations and that child-like feeling that everything is right in the world. Everything is a little more old-fashioned in England, and I miss that, especially at Christmastime. For these reasons, my husband and I chose to get married in December. Next Tuesday we'll celebrate our second anniversary. I'm so glad we chose to ignore the naysayers and have a Christmas wedding. Love at Christmas is perhaps the most lovely thing in the world.
Now back to my family's trip. Tomorrow they'll board a plane to our other homeland and see friends for the first time in almost twenty years. They'll walk the country roads we used to travel, and they'll visit all of our favorite places. I took my husband to these special places this summer, on the sixth anniversary of my grandmother's passing. I miss her daily, and somehow it seemed fitting to visit my childhood home and pay my respects to her at the same time. As if by fate, my husband and I met the new homeowner outside our old white bungalow while she was washing windows, and she invited us into my old house. I will never forget that afternoon as long as I live. It was truly magical. So, my dear family, when those clouds part and you see that beautiful green countryside and those tiny thatched roofs for the first time, remember that you are loved by those on both sides of the Atlantic and by those above you. May you have a wonderful, safe trip. Treasure those old memories, and make lots of new happy ones. Love always. Top photo: Windsor Castle, Summer 2009. When I took the photo, I never saw the bird. It definitely added another magical touch to our trip. Middle photo: My mother's fuchsia plants, nearly 20 years after she and our gardener planted them. They are all that remain of her extensive flower garden, but they were such a joy to see. Bottom photo: Walking the paths of my youth: the River Thames near Boulter's Lock in Maidenhead. I dreamt of this place. It's simply breathtaking.

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