The holidays are hard on me. Always. I'm not sure if it's because I make them hard—like, say, choosing to be 5,000 miles away from close friends and family—but I always dread them.
I am going to admit to the world right now that I did nothing, absolutely nothing for New Year's Eve. If I have told you otherwise, I am a huge liar.
The Spanish family I am living with was away in Zaragoza for almost two weeks. I've enjoyed having the house to myself, but my very sensitive line between demanding/loving alone time and becoming lonely/morose was getting a bit fuzzy.
I knew that the whole family would be returning today, and so I went out for a late dinner. I wasn't sure if I wanted to wait until tomorrow to see the kids, as sometimes they drive me a bit crazy.
I hadn't seen them in 13 days. I came home at midnight, and when I walked in, Ana saw me, looked at me curiously for three seconds... then, her face lit up. It just... glowed.
"Amyyyyyy!" she screamed, and ran over to wrap her arms around me. Jaime—the macho 7-year-old that he is becoming—even came over to tug my arm and smile at me.
They proceeded to show me their new toys, and I played a game of Star Wars chess with Jaime while Ana sang to us with her new, soon-to-drive-me-insane microphone and mini-stage set.
I'm not used to this. I didn't grow up with younger brothers/sisters/cousins/anything. I don't understand this kind of emotion.
But basking in the simple purity of their affection was something I'd wanted—needed—and didn't even realize.