Today I am feeling a little free. You see, this morning I mailed off four Christmas packages to family who live far away. I grew up in Wisconsin, but have lived in New Mexico since 1998. Most of my family is still in Wisconsin or surrounding states, and once we had a child, I declared we were no longer traveling for Christmas. I wanted him to have memories of the holiday rooted in his home. That means people either have to travel to us, or that I’m going to be mailing packages across the country.

Back when my mother and father in law were alive, they and my sister in law would travel to us. I was glad to have them. I wanted my kid to have family around at holidays. Sometimes my father would come too. Sadly, my in laws passed away, my FIL one year, and then my MIL a bit under two years later. And there has been Covid, which means my father is less likely to come as well (flying has no appeal, and a cross country drive in the heart of winter isn’t great either). So the past few years, Christmas has just been the three of us here in New Mexico. We’re pretty good at celebrating just the three of us, but I miss the fun and the stress of having family around.

But I was trying to talk about mailing packages. Mailing Christmas packages stresses me out every year. I don’t know why exactly. It is a task that hangs over my head and makes me fret. I put it off, and then worry about dealing with long lines at the post office. Long lines have even less appeal now that Covid is around, so this year the task was fretting me even more than usual. But I knew I needed to get everything out this week so that it would all arrive in time.

My dad suggested over the phone that UPS might be less crowded than the post office, which struck me as a true statement. So this morning, right after we dropped our kid off at school, Eric and I drove the UPS Store and I went in and found myself the only customer. Three came in while I was being helped, but even so, that was way less people than I likely would have found at the post office. And now the packages are on their way, and they are no longer fretting at my heart. I let them go. I hope they bring happiness to their recipients, but even if they don’t — I let them go.

My next holiday task is to sew curtains for Eric’s home office. But first I think I’ll spend the rest of today with my hand stitching. As a little gift to myself.  Because I’m feeling free.

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