The holidays create this bubble separate from reality, a bubble filled with pure happiness in being with each other. At Christmas, we forgive each other's wrong doings, bicker less, and are simply content to be surrounded by family. There is nothing I enjoy more than the easy companionship of one's siblings and parents, and this companionship is always in its full glory at Christmas time. So that's why I hate leaving my family after the holidays; I'm leaving behind a perfect week filled with love and happiness, and the simplicity of just wanting to be with one another. It's so hard living far away from my family, knowing that this togetherness is only guaranteed once a year. Who wouldn't be sad?
At a bonus family gathering this year (our wedding), my three-year-old nephew grabbed Garrett's hand, looked up to him, and said,
"I'll dream a motorcycle. You dream a helmet. K?"
Garrett loved this question, and so did I. It's amazing, the pureness of a child's imagination. To think that one can imagine something that only gets better when conjoined with somebody else's imagination is an ideal hard to grasp amongst us adults. That's the one thing I dislike about aging--losing touch with my imagination. So today, in my loneliness and sadness that has resulted from leaving my family during this holiday season, I am going to let my imagination run wild.
I am going to dream an island that is perfect for one reason: it is filled with all of the people I love. It's a happy place, where the sun shines 80% of the year--enough to support perpetual happiness but enough to allow cozy days inside from the rain. Snow will start falling December 1st and cease January 31st, allowing temperatures to warm enough in February to bring fresh flowers and sprouting grass in March. Christmas time will be filled with houses trimmed in white lights and candles burning in the windows. Christmas trees (and Menorahs for the lovely Jews in my life) will be excessively large and decorated in every household. Families and friends will gather around pianos to sing Christmas carols and everyone will come together to ring in the New Year. Health and happiness will be plentiful.
Come springtime, grass will be springy and green. Lawns will be perfectly tailored and adorned with tipped over bicycles left by playing children. Hanging baskets will grace porches (did I mention that all of the houses will have huge wrap-around porches?) and hummingbirds will dart in and out of the flowers sprouting in each yard. There will be running streams, wave-crashing seas, and fish-filled ponds. The island will be home to both a delightful town and cozy countryside. Delectable restaurants and cute boutiques will fill the town, horse farms and dairies along rolling hills will fill the country.
The summer will be full of swimming, popsicles, and games of hide-and-go-seek for the children, dances, picnics, and open-air exercise for the adults. Lightning bugs will dot the night sky and cicadas will conduct their orchestra all summer long. The days and nights will be carefree, filled with laughter and skin warmed by the sun. Berries and vegetables will grow fresh and plentiful for picking. Travel will be always be open and easily accessible to all; in fact, travel to far-off places will be done by teleportation. Harry Potter style. No jet lag or time lost to interfere with the exploration of new places.
Autumn will slowly creep in come late September and will be filled with bright oranges, reds, and yellows. The sunlight will shine golden and keep bodies warm as temperatures start to fade. Pumpkin patches will be abundant and families will make weekend trips to the local apple orchard to drink cider (while eating apple cider donuts, of course) and pick apples for homemade pies. Firewood will be chopped for the impending cold weather and seasonal coffees will start to brew in all of the cafés. Scarves, hats, and mittens will be pulled out with thick coats and heavy boots. Holiday preparation will begin.
Adults will have careers, but only those so desired. The work day will be short and consist of a midday siesta. People won't work to attain more money, because money won't matter. Those who wish access to unlimited amounts will be granted unlimited amounts; those who wish to live more frugally will certainly be allowed to live more frugally. Money problems won't exist.
The one animal shelter will only be there for families to quickly reclaim their rambunctious lost pets; every animal will have a loving home. The local doctor's office and hospital will only be necessary for the patching up of scraped elbows and knees that come from having too much fun. Major health problems do not exist on my island. Everybody is granted perfect health.
My house will have two stories and a perfectly thatched roof. The wrap-around porch will be decorated by rocking chairs, hanging plants, and flower baskets on the railing. Friends and family will stop by frequently to sit in these rocking chairs and chat about life over baked goods and tea (or wine in the evening). Bay windows will poke out onto the porch and above it; inside these windows will be filled with cushioned seats and pillows for reading. Hardwood floors will line the house and fireplaces with exquisite mantels will be in almost every room. There will be a library filled with shelves of books from floor to ceiling; a ladder will be needed to reach the top. The kitchen will be the biggest and most important room in the house; it'll consist of a top of the line oven and a wood-burning stove. There will be both a breakfast nook and a large center island for people to gather around to sip drinks and prepare food together. We'll have a large stone patio that overlooks our back yard, which is complete with an in-ground pool and horse barn in the distance. Above the patio will be an upstairs balcony with a chaise lounge for drinking morning coffee and reading. The bathrooms will have tile floors, claw-footed tubs, and showers with two heads (something funny to wish for, I know. But try showering with a large man and you'll know what I mean). Bedrooms will be full of lush bedding and mattresses so perfect, you'll never want to leave. Except you will, because family and friends will be waiting to fill your day. My sisters, parents, and in-laws will all live a stones-throw away and friends won't live farther than a walkable distance. We’ll all get together frequently, as we please, to share in laughter, comfort, and good spirits.
That's my perfect world on my perfect island in a nutshell. Yes, everything will be aesthetically pleasing, but most importantly, it'll be filled with a healthy and happy reality of all of us being together at the snap of a finger. We won't have to part and go our separate ways after the holidays; well, we can if we want to (skiing in the Alps? Surfing in Hawaii?), but when we come back, we'll come back to each other.
I did my part in dreaming my motorcycle...now it's your turn to dream the helmet. Go ahead, exercise your imagination and make my island better. What would you want?