This Christmas was a challenge for my family. We had to move out of our home in November because of a mold issue in the house that was making us ill. My mother offered us my childhood home in the Philippines.
It excites us to think of spending a little time in the place where I grew up. A few years ago we spent a year in Maine where my husband grew up. My daughter, then only two years old, still has strong memories of kayaking in the lake in the summer and playing in the snow in the winter. The Philippines is as far away from Maine as can be, and I can’t wait to make new memories there.
First we had to move out of our home. We were all battling health issues from the mold, but we had to face the task head-on. For 15 days my husband and I packed up our belongings into boxes and drove them into a storage space. We donated a lot of things to Parca, and packed up necessities for keeping with us while we were in transition.
My daughter had been rehearsing for the annual children’s theater holiday production of Wizard of Oz since September. It was a blessing that she was kept occupied with the show. It allowed my husband and I more time to do all the packing while she was out of the house, and it also gave her a distraction from the impending goodbyes to school, her friends, her home.
My family has an empty home in the country two hours away that we are staying in for the holidays, before we leave for the Philippines. We made ourselves comfortable and hosted Thanksgiving Dinner. After Thanksgiving, we warmed the home with Christmas fare.
We were barely home. We spent a lot of time in a hotel back in the San Francisco Bay Area, during dress-tech rehearsals and the shows following. It was the culmination of all my daughter’s preparations for the holiday show. At this point she was homeschooling, and the theatre provided her with a social outlet and a feeling of accomplishment. We had to let her finish what she started, no matter the cost to us.
We traveled with a little Christmas tree and nativity scene, so we could set up Christmas with us wherever we went. My daughter performed in evening shows on Fridays and Saturdays, matinees on Saturdays and Sundays all December. We drove back to my family’s home in the country on the weekdays. When school let out for Christmas break, my daughter performed matinees on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and evening shows on Wednesday, Thursday and closing night on Friday.
We finally came home on December 24, thoroughly exhausted, under the weather, but fully rewarded by an unforgettable experience. There’s no place like home… and home is where the heart is.