We have many traditions over the Christmas holidays. Most are quite cheesy, like waiting for everyone to come home before we decorate the tree with home-made ornaments spanning over 30 years, and listening to Willie Nelson's Pretty Paper when we open presents. We find steep backroads that aren't yet sanded and race our wooden sleds we brought back from Germany, and when the river is frozen, we meet a group of friends for daily hockey games. But one of our favorites is to put on the cross-country skis and go to the local mountain where we ski up to the dacha, a small hut built by some of the locals. For me, the best part about this is that I get to spend the day with my whole family. This wouldn't be such a big deal if my parents weren't divorced. For those that know my family, they are used to this dynamic, a comfortable dynamic where my parents house sit and dog sit for one another... where my mom and step-mom hug when they see each other, where laughter and stories flow easily... where they choose to be friends. I know that this is not normal. In fact, this is exceptional... and this day of skiing and laughter and cheering each other on as we ski through the snow laden trails is the best Christmas present I could ever ask for. I have four amazing parents that have worked hard and sacrificed over the years to give me the best life they possibly could. They supported me, they supported each other, and they created a space for my brothers and myself that was filled with love and respect. Through their commitment and selflessness, they created a strong, beautiful family.
I cannot begin to thank my family for the part they have played in shaping all that I am. They are my center. And from that, I draw the strength, courage, and love to be the best person I can be and live the life I dream. I love you... xoxo.