I’ll be home for Christmas

McMurray Musings Connects

By THERESA WELLS, Connect Columnist

It is that most wonderful time of year, when everyone is busy discussing their holiday plans. A new acquaintance asked if I intended to “go home” for Christmas, a perfectly reasonable question during this season. I smiled when they asked it though as all I could do was say: “Indeed, I am – I will be right here.”

Home: such a loaded word for so many of us, particularly those of us who have moved around a lot and known many different homes. I have lived in many places in our country, and during all those moves and all those new adventures I learned that home was never really about the place. It was about how you felt about it.

I have never been someone who experienced a significant degree of homesickness, and I think it is primarily due to the fact that I saw it as a pointless exercise. That sort of misery, the longing for somewhere you are not but used to be, simply makes you blind to the wonder of where you are. It inhibits you from forming attachments to your new place and to developing the sense of home you find when you begin to experience those bonds. And frankly, it makes you miserable.

Wherever I found myself, at whatever time of year it was, I decided it was home, and then I made it so. I never felt compelled to be somewhere else, although in years past I would on occasion return to my first home, the one I shared with my parents, to spend the holidays with them. Upon their deaths, though, these trips ended, and while I continue to miss my parents I do not miss the place they were. I just miss them.

Next year, my length of time residing in Fort McMurray will match the longest period of time I have lived anywhere, and any time after that will mark this community as the place I have called home the longest. The concept of going anywhere – being anywhere – but here for the holidays is almost laughable as I don’t need to go home for the holidays; I already am.

This is the place where some things ended for me, but other things, ones of value beyond words, began. This is the place where I found the house where I now reside, my trusted realtor and best friend as my guide. This is the place where I found all the pets with whom I now live, the small furry faces that greet me every morning and every evening.

This is the place where some things ended for me, but other things, ones of value beyond words, began. This is the place where I found the house where I now reside, my trusted realtor and best friend as my guide. This is the place where I found all the pets with whom I now live, the small furry faces that greet me every morning and every evening.

This is the place where some friendships faltered on the shoals of distrust while others became stronger than ship’s steel. This is the place where I did not have extended family, but where I found it and built it instead. This is the place where my daughter spent the formative years of her life, and the place she will always know as her first home.

When I hear Christmas songs centred on the theme of being home for Christmas or receive cards heralding the wonder of being home for the holidays I always feel a small warm stirring inside as I recognize that what I have found in this community is home.

It is on occasion the most puzzling of places, the most frustrating and the most entertaining – but then too it is the place I am always happy to see at the end of a long stretch of highway or glimpsed through the window of an airplane after a long journey.

So to all of you, wherever you are and wherever you call home, Merry Christmas. I hope you are in the place where your heart is happiest, whether that is in Fort McMurray or far away. As for me, I’ll be home for Christmas, in the place that makes my heart sing, my soul happy and makes me smile every single day: right here in Fort McMurray, my chosen home.

Merry Christmas, Fort McMurray!

– Connect Weekly –