The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It is the holiday season once again, and I think by now we all know this isn’t the best time of year for me.

And like most Decembers, I am not feeling particularly swell. However, this post is not about that.

This is about my favorite Christmas memory since I have been with my wife.

Here are all the disclaimers:

  • This story isn’t about my wife
  • This isn’t the story of the best or happiest memory of this time of year, it is simply my favorite. It is a memory that I think about all the time. A memory that makes me smile every time I think about it.
  • It is an extremely short story. I am already scrambling to make this post long enough to waste your time with.
  • I don’t even remember most of the specifics about this memory, so a lot of what I am about to tell you might be made up.

So here we go.

My wife and I used to do the ‘see both families’ thing on holidays. This was back then, this was before kids, this was before marriage even.

Christmas day; one where we spent the morning with my family and the night with my wife’s.

We leave my parent’s house, just after dinner, probably around 4:30 or 5, maybe slightly earlier. We text her family to say we are on our way. We head over to my wife’s maternal grandmother’s house. We arrive to a packed house. We say hello and before we even had a chance to take off jackets or anything, my wife’s youngest sister was preposterously happy to see us and insisted on hugging us.

To this day, that was the single best hug I have ever had.

I cannot really explain it beyond that. I have no idea why she was so happy to see us. I believe I had just seen her the night before. I have no idea why she insisted on hugging us right away, before we could even take off our coats. I have no explanation as to why that hug imparted such an incredible level of warmth and love.

I simply don’t know.

The even stranger part was that everyone in that house was in an extra emotional mood that night. Maybe something happened before we got there, maybe the rum cake was extra juicy.

But I think about that hug all the time, especially this time of year.

There is extra emphasis placed on that hug because, especially back then, I often felt like an outsider with my wife’s family. I don’t mean that they treat me like an outsider, quite the opposite. I have felt as welcomed to everything they have to offer from the very first instant I met all of them. But what I do mean is that I’m pretty different, with a different background, different opinions and values and pleasures. And everyone has always tried (often very successfully) to cross that distance to accommodate me or understand me or whatever you want to say. But my point is that there is that distance that needs to be crossed.

And due to that, I, sometimes, especially back then, feel like an outsider.

That hug was really the first time that my youngest sister-in-law really expressed a deeper emotion towards me than just being the guy dating her sister.

I have had moments like this with all of her sisters, and her parents of course, and a good portion of her extended family too. This hug, while being incredibly important to me, isn’t the only instance of this type of thing happening, not even the only instance of it happening on or around Christmas.

But it is my favorite.