Even at night, the air was warm. The moisture hung in the air like a blanket and the city lights were a beacon, welcoming me back.
Walking into the night dew, I jumped up and down with my lampshade when my parents arrived. I sojourned to the land of Tejas (Texas) for Thanksgiving to spend a few short days with my family and friends.
- To clear up the lampshade bit: I bought my best friend a lamp for Christmas– post purchase, the realization hit that it has to travel 800+ miles to her. So I packed the lamp and held the shade on the plane. You would think my clothes contained repulsive language by the looks I received. Tempting as it was, it was never placed on my head to galavant through the terminals. The thought did occur to me however…
The early morning brought a dear friend with Starbucks (Thanks Kymber!), a glorious run at sea-level in 80 degrees, and a cooking class by my mother. I’ve never made a Thanksgiving meal before. Turkeys and I were never on friendly terms and the idea of stuffing anything besides pillows is bizarre to me. Yet with patience and homage to Julia Child (nice pearls, mom), I was shown how to prepare a meal without burning the house down. (Gotta have goals, right?)
What I learned? My mother needs to be immortal so I never have to stuff turkey crevices with moist stuffing. Ever.
The day after the incredible meal, my alarm barked at 4am on bleak, Black Friday. There was only one thing I wanted black that early… my coffee. The Woodlands welcomed the gaggle of women, eager to shop ’til they drop. My eyes were lined with lead until the glitter and fur came into view. Wide-eyed and awe-struck, we trouped from store to store, finding incredible deals, no lines, and shrieking every so often.
Instead of practical clothing, I found dress-up attire. By “dress-up,” I do not mean opera-worthy, I mean costume party. Black Friday brought a 1920s Flapper dress and 1970s shift dress to my wardrobe. Ok… I lied. Practical pieces did make their way to my collection– but I’m most excited about the fringe flapper dress. Once you are wearing it, your body starts shaking. It is an involuntary measure where you’re instantly a jazz-baby, wanting to violate prohibition and society with champagne and dance… and all that jazz.
I also needed to find pants. Inevitably, for every trip you ever take, you will forget something. Sometimes a kid, sometimes socks, sometimes pants. I forgot pants. Eagerly, I washed them the night before and told myself countless times to not forget. It wasn’t until I looked for them come Thursday did I realize I would be spending the holiday in a mini skirt and leggings every single day.
And so I did.
Pants eluded me throughout the shopping excursions. Silver lining is that I had a fashion challenge to create new looks with a repeat of the bottoms on multiple occasions. And I do love a good challenge…
Christmas pictures of my family and my darling friend Erin and her husband consumed two mornings in the pseudo-chilly Tejas air. As I told my father, photographs no longer exist to capture a time, but to capture a fun moment. Between dogs running wild with headgear and the wretched Anchorman-esque mustache my brother-in-law was sporting, fun moments were definitely all around.
(my gorgeous sister and me)
Christmas also happened by way of hanging the lights. This reverent affair occurs on Black Friday annually between my father and me. For some people it is the tree-topper or the bow on the gifts… but there is nothing like the dizzying sensation of wrapping live trees with electronic twilight, to sparkle, to gleam in the black of the night for me. This time of year, the air is sweet with the scent of pine. Everywhere you turn, the pine trees are oozing in joy and the air embraces every drop. (I’m a sap.) As I made myself dizzy wrapping the trees, the conversation happened again, as it does every year.
“We need more lights, Dad.”
- “We have enough, bud.”
“Seriously. At least 10 more boxes.”
- “I think it looks great.”
“Maybe 15 boxes.”
- “Ok, bud.”
In the end, it is always my mom I have to convince to buy more lights. (At least 15 more boxes, mom!)
Being home was strange this time around. I was transported back to a year ago where I honestly woke up thinking I had a morning shift at Starbucks and was running late. The dichotomy of how I’ve grown up and earned some thicker skin against the potent memories of young Emily proved interesting insights. I’m more thankful that I moved away since the short return than I realized. Not because I hate Texas or my family– quite the opposite! People grow up in their own ways, by their own paths, by their own drums.
Fitting, isn’t it, to find yourself thankful on Thanksgiving.
In honor of the realization, I decided to try something I’ve never tried before. On Saturday night, I found the air, cold and crisp, and the world would change as I knew it…. (continue to Tejas: Part Two)