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Grapevine : December 2011
THE YEAR I NEEDED SANTA IT was December 2008 and an- other holiday season was upon us. I usually love the holidays. It seemed like the one time of the year when everyone loved each other and got along and were happy to see each other. My fam- ily had a tradition of spending Christ- mas Eve together for a huge dinner my sister would prepare, and then enjoying each other's company for the rest of the evening with laughter, gifts, hugs and good cheer. This year, however, was differ- ent. I wouldn't be there. I would be 2500 miles away in Arizona at my new home, which still didn't feel like home. There was no nip in the air here, no snow, no frost on the win- dowpanes and no family or friends. Just my husband and me. Or that is how it seemed to me. I felt gloomy and sad. Christmas carols that I normally loved made me cry. The lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Center made me cry. The Thanksgiving Day Parade made me cry. New York was home and Arizona was not---not yet anyway. Moving here was my husband's dream. He worked hard to get the job here. We were having a brand new house built (something that was not possible in New York). Finan- cially we were in good shape. Our marriage was better than ever. We were spending more time together than ever, and my husband, who is usually pretty solemn, was seemingly very happy. I just couldn't get that excited, "happy to have all I do" feeling in my heart. On the outside I baked cookies, wrapped gifts, made phone calls, wrote Christmas cards with cheery messages about how great ev- erything was (and it was really), but my heart was heavy. I wanted to be back home with the people I loved. I wanted winter coats and hats, not sweaters and shorts. I forgot all that I should have An unexpected encounter in a neighbor's yard helps a woman get her gratitude game back 20 December 2011