I don’t mean the kind after a race; I mean the kind after traveling, after many days of a delightful, finished-way-too-quickly vacation. The kind that means sleeping in decadently late, lounging in pajamas past noon, and not leaving the house except for an afternoon run. As I get older, I’m becoming increasingly appreciative of these “cushion” days between vacation pace and rat race.
Sitting here nursing a cup of coffee (yes, in my pajamas), I must admit that while my vacation did go by way too quickly, I can’t complain — not a minute was wasted, and the occasional little hiccups along the way turned out just fine.
The adventure started two Saturdays ago, when I flew to San Francisco for my brother’s wedding. My luggage missed the connection in Phoenix – eek! – but caught up to me just a few hours later. Crisis averted.
The next 24 hours passed in a blur. After the family reunited in a flurry of hugs at the lovely Queen Anne Hotel, we headed to the Embarcadero’s Plant Café for a delicious rehearsal dinner. Friends and family got acquainted, told stories about the bride and groom, and enjoyed the really cool British accents of the bride’s family. Or at least I enjoyed them.
On Sunday morning, a group of us went running around Golden Gate Park, including the necessary jaunt across the bridge and back. Awesome, awesome run. And later that day: the wedding ceremony, at Fort Baker’s Cavallo Point. Another gorgeous place – San Francisco apparently has no limit to those. In the interest of succinctness, I’ll just say this about the wedding: it was, from my vantage point anyway, perfect.
After that, it was go-time for Christmas. Over the next few days, the family, with a few exceptions who unfortunately couldn’t make it (we missed you guys!), converged in Virginia. I soaked up grocery shopping with Mom, running with Dad, and seeing the water and trees that I miss in Albuquerque. As more family arrived, the activity increased: Cooking! Hikes in the woods behind the house! The Annual Banks Family All-Comers’ Run, which drew 7 participants this year! Last-minute gift shopping and wrapping! Keeping the baby from launching himself down the stairs!
I couldn’t believe how much my niece and nephew had grown since I last saw them. My fabulous niece, who’s five, has entered the Barbie Phase, but happily still enjoys romping around the woods as well. Not to mention [Brag Warning!] she has a brilliant imagination. My nephew, meanwhile, has become an unstoppable crawling machine of cuteness. I absolutely love hanging out with them. Not to mention, when they leave a snack for Santa, someone has to make sure it gets eaten, right??
Christmas Day brought some important lessons. One: Attending Midnight Mass when there’s a 5-year-old who will wake everyone up at 6 a.m. maybe isn’t the best idea. Two: Coffee is the answer. Three: Material presents really and truly are just accessories to the gift of spending time with family.
It was a fantastic Christmas. True, my flight out of D.C. left enormously late, causing my aunt and I to miss our respective connections in Dallas, but hey, that just meant we got to have a tasty dinner at DFW. Plus, since no coach seats were available on the connecting flight that I wound up on, I got to fly First Class for the first time EVER! For free! I got to board early and drink water from an actual glass! Not a bad way at all, I figured, to re-enter the non-vacation world.
After a recovery day.