A Very California Christmas
Well a very Happy Christmas everyone! I know what you're thinking..."Kelly. Where the hell have you been?" I know because that's what my email inbox looks like right now. We've got a lot to catch up on so grab yourself an adult beverage, a holiday cookie or sweet of your choice and let's get started!
A few months ago, I was talking to one of my friends in LA about how much I was dreading the winter. I hate just about everything about winter so my friend asked me why I didn't just pick up and move to LA for the winter if I hated it so much. So I started joking that I was going to be bi-coastal but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. So this year, I packed 3 suitcases and headed west to hide from the winter! I am spending 3 weeks in San Diego with my family and then I'm headed to LA until February 29th.
As much as I love Christmas time, this time of year is a huge struggle for me and my family. After my brother passed away, Christmas became practically unbearable. We aren't a religious family but Christmas is the time of the year that our giant extended family gets together to just be together for days on end. It's so hard to continue with traditions or even give myself permission to be happy when my heart feels like it's being ripped out of my chest. There are days that make enjoying the season impossible to celebrate without him but I've found that it's important to give myself permission to be both happy and sad (sometimes both at the same time).
The key to getting through the holidays after a loved one has passed away is to figure out what works for you and your people. For my family, we kept some traditions but created brand new ones every year. One of our new traditions is to buy our Christmas tree a few days (if not the day before) Christmas. This way we don't have to get our ornaments down or look at it for weeks on end. I didn't want to go with my parents to pick out a tree because it felt too difficult but my Mom and Dad told me to suck it up and do it for them. Normally, I'd say it's important to give people space but this time, I'm glad they made me go with them because all the trees were looking pretty dismal. I looked at my Mom and said, "Why don't we haggle the price down since it's dead and then spray paint it?" Her face lit up (dare I say it...LIKE A CHRISTMAS TREE) and she screamed, "Let's paint it ombre!" So that is exactly what we did!
My Mom is an INCREDIBLE artist and we had an unforgettable time bringing her vision to life. She's a special education teacher by profession but her real passion lies in the art world. She's probably the most talentedartist I know. When we were little, she ripped out the carpet and painted the cement so we could skateboard and scooter in the house. She took scrap tiles and created a mosaic back splash in our kitchen and fireplace as well just because. She creates these incredible frames out of tile and mosaic because she doesn't believe that artwork should be framed in something boring. Her work will leave your jaw on the floor and I'm honored that I finally got to be apart of the magic!
I'm also LOVING that my normal runs now take place next to a beautiful ocean. I'm very conscious of taking time off from training and racing because it's so easy for me to burn out or hurt myself. I always see people online who run back to back to back races and it makes me jealous because I can't do that. I tried last year and towards the end of the year, I was so burnt out that I didn't know if I'd be able to get back into it. (Spoiler alert, two months of goal-less running and I was chomping at the bit to get back after it.) This year, after the New York City Marathon, I slammed on the brakes and decided to give myself until the New Year to just hang out and run to feel. I find that if I leave myself wanting more, the following year feels fresh and exciting instead of like a chore. For me, running isn't about racing, it's about enjoying every single step so that's my focus is right now. (And with a backdrop like this, how could you not?) #TeamShorts!
It has been very strange being back in my hometown of Carlsbad, CA. (North County San Diego.) I went to Target a few days after getting in (Because going to Target when you have a car is a very different experience than going to Target in the city...) and I ran into a friend of a friend that I went to High School with. We did that awkward thing where you make eye contact and I reached for my phone to pretend not to see her but she smiled, said my name and walked towards me. (I couldn't remember her name so I did the "HEY GIRL! How are you?" Thing...Oops.) Anyways, it was a strange interaction. I knew that she had gotten married and had had a baby (because I saw my friends at her showers on Facebook and she had a baby strapped to her chest) and as we started talking, she started asking some pretty personal questions. I was trying to be polite and just back out of the conversation all together because
1- I don't know this girl well. I mean, I couldn't even remember her name and
2- I didn't want to be a dick so backing out seemed like the best option.
Look, I have no problem with women and men who get married and start families young. If that is your thing, that is wonderful! I don't believe there is a right or wrong age to get married or have a family. It's an individual experience. But I'm not chomping at the bit to settle down. I feel like a kid myself and I'm having the time of my life traveling, exploring and being young in New York City. I've never dreamed of my wedding day and I don't spend my time hoping that perfect someone is out there. I think lots of perfect people are out there. She kept pushing these personal questions and finally goes, "Do you plan on settling down in the near future?" And I finally was over it and respond, "This year I went to Europe and next year I think I'm going to Africa. I'm good for now" hoping that would end the conversation. But she takes it one step further and says, "But do you get lonely?" Which was the straw that broke the camels back because WHY would I need a husband to not feel lonely???? So I said, "Do you ever get bummed that you can't go to Africa because you spend all your money on a baby?" I think she finally got the hint because she said, "It was so nice to see you!" And that was that. I will never understand why some women are so dependent on someone else to be happy. To each their own I suppose! Now I'm spending the rest in my time in San Diego doing this...
Now onto Christmas! Christmas has been a scream! We had our annual Silly String Fight after opening the presents Santa left for us and this year, our neighbors got in on the action. It was HILARIOUS and one of the best silly string fights we've had in years.
It was fun to get so many new people in on the action because the silly string war used to just be my Sister, my cousin William, my brother Scott and I. I actually found a video from my Brother's last Christmas on Christmas morning and it's one of my favorite videos I have with him. He was so shy and funny and watching home movies help ease the fear that I'll forget him. I really miss him.
I cannot believe I found this video. This is the last Christmas silly string fight we had with my brother. Holidays are always tough when you've lost someone but it's important to remember that you can be happy and sad at the same time. Making new traditions helps but don't bottle up your grief. Don't let it be the elephant in the room. Acknowledge your loss and your pain, and then try to find some joy. Try to laugh. It helps. #RobertsFamilyAssemble
After our silly string war, my Mom, Uncle David and I got started on Christmas Dinner. I love to cook and I started cooking our giant Holiday Meals when I was in high school so I know how tocook a turkey dinner in my sleep. When the turkey was ready to come out of the oven, it was Christmas Pinata time!!! Nothing says Christmas like whacking the life out of Frosty the Snowman right? I kept decapitating Frosty so we ended up just playing baseball until my Cousin William broke it open. We immediately turned into savages and fought like we've never fought before.
Then I crawled into the fetal position and entered into a deep food coma. I love the Holidays because I love food! Our house is filled with Sees Candy and Christmas leftovers right now and I couldn't be happier to sit back, eat, and hang out with my family. It took me years to figure out that 2 or 3 days of eating like a pig isn't going to undo the months (OK YEARS) of hard work I've done. I used to feel so guilty and gross about indulging at the Holidays, now I roll my eyes at pictures like this --
It's all about balance. The last thing you want to do is hate yourself for having 4 cookies instead of 1. It's over. You did it. Just enjoy the cookies, move on, and try for 1 or 2 next time! Stop announcing that your pants don't fit online or that you've gained 20 pounds. Just enjoy the time you have with your family and friends eating truly delicious treats. Throw in some runs, spin classes or long walks if you're worried. You'll balance out, stop stressing!
Try to really enjoy your time with your family and friends. I know a lot of times family can make you crazy but time is a very precious thing. Make as many memories as you can because one day, they really are all you will have. Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.