Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Home for Christmas

Weather:  The Harmattan winds have arrived, starting last Monday.  That means every day is hazy as the air is filled with a fine sand coming from the Sahara desert.  It also means that humidity has dropped to about 55%, from an average of 75%, and the temperatures are averaging in the high 80s instead of the mid 90s. 

Greeting Hannah at the airport...
Hannah has come home for Christmas.  Those were her words - "I can't wait to come home for Christmas."  She had been saying for some time that she is homesick.  But she had lived in Grand Rapids for twelve years before moving to West Africa and lived in Ghana for only two how is she defining home?  I think for Hannah, home is Noah and I.  Home is the rhythm of our house, no matter where the house happens to be.  That is a pleasant thought - home is not a place as much as it is the people.  I know that she also missed West African food, and has already put her order in for peanut soup, jollof rice, and kiliwili.  I know that she has missed her high school friends and it looks like a good number of them will be around for the holidays.  I know that she also missed the sun as she adjusts to West Michigan winter (although she will be leaving the freezer and entering the oven - no in-between here:-).  But most of all, I think she missed us.

This is a comfort to me because I don't know where I will be next year.  Next Christmas will find both Hannah and Noah at Calvin College (Noah was just accepted), and since I will be leaving Ghana in June but do not anticipate being in North America, I will make every effort to join them in Michigan.  We will have to redefine home again, but if the people are the main ingredient, we can probably make it happen.

Ghost of Christmas past...
Of course, the glaring reality here is that not only does the location change, but the people have also changed, given the absence of Bob.  This is our second Christmas without him - without his insistence that everyone wear one green and one red sock (despite the heat!), without his great cherry and apple stuffing, without his loud singing along with Nat King Cole's Christmas album,  without him stringing Christmas lights in every possible place, without his presence that filled our home.  In many ways, we are still trying to figure out what to do with ourselves.  Last year was about survival - this year is about reconstruction.  What does the Reed Christmas look like now?

The pain level continues to be high, as I'm sure you can imagine.  When people talk about family Thanksgiving and family gatherings for Christmas, we not only miss our extended family get-togethers, traditional food, decorations, and snow, but our father and husband as well.  But we will get through it - and eventually we will figure it out.

In the meantime, I'll get some hugs from Hannah, Noah and Hannah will have a chance to debate and tease each other, and Hannah will hopefully get some sleep and a tan!
Hannah and Noah, yesterday at the airport.  If you look very closely, you will see blue hair around Hannah's neck.  Yes, she dyed the back, bottom portion of her hair blue - not very noticeable, but this is what happens when the cat is away - the mice do play:-).