Are We There Yet?
Sara: Justin and I traveled to see Justin’s family in North Dakota for Thanksgiving. The trip from Missouri to North Dakota is over 700 miles, one way. Needless to say, by the time we actually got to Justin’s folks’ house, we had some tired rear ends.
This year, we were fortunate to be able to leave Missouri the Friday before Thanksgiving around 1 pm, when Justin finished teaching his last class. I picked him up from the university, and we jumped on the highway.
Surprisingly, we were able to make the entire trip with only two stops total for gas and made it to Justin’s parents’ place just before midnight.
The entire week was great. It was very restful not to have to set an alarm each morning, to have some time off of work, and just be. I think I most appreciated realizing how much Justin and I had grown in our relationship since our trip last Christmas. Of course, it was great to finally be able to share a room with Justin. However, it was more than just that. We consulted each other, and were both more thoughtful of the other person, including better negotiating each day’s activities.
This trip, we spent a lot of time playing cards with Justin’s grandparents. I’m always amazed at just how good his grandparents are at cards. I think if there was a professional pinochle league, they could probably join. In his grandparents’ household, the boys always play against the girls, so that way Grandpa and Grandma weren’t mad at each other if they made mistakes. It was hard for me to not be on the same team as Justin. Justin claims I’m a sore winner, but I think it’s just he’s a sore loser. We actually don’t play board games together very often because neither of us likes losing.
Justin: I like to say Sara is a bad loser and a worse winner. This was also one of the first times we have played on opposite teams since we have been married. It was an interesting experience because marriage has really fostered a spirit of cooperation between us. It was difficult to compete against the other without feeling that the other was being disloyal in not wanting you to win.
Sara: Thanksgiving dinner was very good; it was nice to finally have all these Thanksgiving dishes (such as Grandma’s stuffing) Justin has spoken of so fondly. It was also great to be with Justin’s family together.
Justin: It was also neat because Sara made the dessert this year. I think it was a real sign that she is fully part of the family. Holiday meals are so important because each person brings dish and this is a visible sign that each person offers something unique and irreplaceable to the family. Sara is now a unique and irreplaceable member of our family (not just Sara and I but the whole Kraft family tree).
Sara: Even though you didn’t eat dessert with the rest of the family! I was so mad at you!
Justin: I wanted to eat it when I could enjoy it most – when I wasn’t stuffed.
Sara: We also looked at houses online, I read a few books, and we just relaxed.
Justin: Sara only fell in love with one house, but alas after seeing it in person it did not live up to her dreams.
Sara: All too soon, it was time to head home. Saturday morning, Justin woke me up at 4:30 am because he couldn’t sleep. Thankfully, I was able to go back to sleep in the car, and the trip didn’t seem so far. We were even home by 2:30 pm!
The next day, the First Sunday of Advent, I dug out my Advent wreath. We prayed together as we placed it on our prayer table. I’m so looking forward to the slowness and patience required by the waiting of Advent. Neither Justin nor I grew up in a home with many Advent traditions. We’ve discussed wanting to observe the liturgical year in our family, and both fast and party with the Church.
We thought it might be neat to hear your Advent season traditions. Please send us suggestions you may have for helping us observe Advent and the Christmas season as a family (for both now and when we one day, God willing, have children). If we get some great suggestions, perhaps we will share them in an upcoming blog.