This is starting off as an interesting and different holiday season. For the past few years my wife and I have not really done much at our home in the way of Christmas decorations because we spend the holiday heading south to family in New Orleans where we will retire in the near future. But this year is different. My wife retired in November and now is “transitioning” to life in New Orleans about 18 months ahead of me. She has opened up a store on Magazine St. called Uptown Needle and CraftWorks, where among other things she sells very cool “recovery scrolls” pictured here. (Great last minute gift idea for the addict in your life. Three feet of steps, traditions, promises, and affirmations. A shameless plug.) So for the immediate future we will have long weekends once a month together until I join her full-time in 2016.
This year, instead of us both getting out of town and heading south for a bit of relaxation, she will be heading north and I will be staying put for the holidays. So last night I got all the Christmas decorations out of the attic, and will have them up by the end today – in a spirited competition to outdo with my next-door neighbor.
The last few weeks of reasonable isolation in our up north house with just me and the dogs has been interesting. In the past during our times apart, my wife and I keep up a reasonably regular email/phone conversation. We now find that Facetime is the better tool so that we can actually see each other.
I find that the being apart has been a lesson in how much we really enjoy being together – not taking each other for granted – my understanding of how our mutual passions, interests, lives, do form a greater whole than our two parts.
While going through the attic pulling out the Christmas stuff, I came across the shoe box labeled “our wedding” that contains the extra service bulletins, bookmarks, wedding cards wishing us well from the event some 15 years ago.
I think too of how none of this would have come to pass were I not sober. And I recollect how some of our first conversations when we met over 15 years ago included me being upfront about my alcoholism and that I had been in recovery for some 15 years by that point. In response, she told me how she had started the first Adult Children of Alcoholics meeting in the state a bunch of years before.
So, this year we will start a new tradition – and remember that the more things change, the more they stay the same.