I didn’t get to go home for Christmas last year.

I had to work on Christmas day. My family came up here to New York and rented an Airbnb to see me. It wasn’t the same though.

Usually, my family and I go to our lake house in Texas. We do Christmas carols and make monkey bread together on Christmas morning. We sit around the fireplace, tell stories, watch movies, and talk about our lives. We always listen to Nat King Cole. I help my mom wrap gifts at her shop while my brother acts as her security guard since it’s always so busy around the holidays.

My mom is from a family of eight, and there’s so many people. It’s kind of like the family in Home Alone — everyone knows each other, we know each other’s dramas. Yes, we have fights but we love each other so much and we are a big clan.

Last year, we went to Fairway and bought the ingredients for our monkey bread, but it wasn’t the same.

I didn’t get to go home for Thanksgiving this year either. It was my first Thanksgiving alone. I was on tour for a musical and we had a show on Thanksgiving evening. The theater company paid for us to go on a Thanksgiving lunch and gave us an open bar after the show, but it didn’t feel like a holiday. We ate turkey, stuffing, pie, just because it was Thanksgiving, but it felt like checking off boxes.

My mom FaceTimed me on Thanksgiving Day, while they were all sitting at the piano singing carols and having such a nice time. I felt so left out.

My parents try to keep me in the loop by sending me a photo of a family event every week, but it reminds me that I’m the only one living away from home. I feel like I’m missing out on my siblings growing up, and I want to be there for them.

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