The "I'm not home for Christmas" homesickness hit today. I had friends over for rice porridge, for Norwegian "Little Christmas Eve." (We don't actually decorate on the 23rd; we make rice porridge and light candles.) I spent the day cooking and trying to make everything familiar, and somewhere in the middle of making the rice porridge and the cheese ball I sat down and cried for a while. It was all so familiar -- the twinkly lights, the smell of the porridge, the music in the background -- but I was alone (Christopher being away on errands) and so far away from my family.
I guess that's why I had such high expectations for today: I tried to make everything that we usually have at home. Some of it didn't work out (I ended up having to throw away my attempt at lefse), and I got entirely exhausted, but this day was important to me. I found myself worrying that my friends wouldn't be able to come over, or that I was stressing everyone out by making everyone celebrate yet another day around Christmas, but it all worked out beautifully. My rice porridge and my cheese ball (the two necessary elements of any Christmas, in my immediate family) both turned out perfectly. The chicken (the extra food, to counteract the overload of carbs and dairy, and in case anyone wasn't into porridge) was my best yet, the snow held off long enough that everyone could come and stay for a while, and everyone got along well. The candles glowed (and, uh, singed Derek's hair) and everything was familiar and comforting.
And I am happy and comforted. The rest of Christmas can happen now, and I won't be stressed out by it.
(I apparently spend every December 23rd feeling reflective, with a full heart, seeking the familiar. Here's my post from 2006, and here is 2005.)