Christmas in Key Largo with the Ones You Love

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I’m two days late, but it was on December 21st, 2009 that our lovely mama Renée finally made the decision to hop into a 1978 Volkswagen Bus with Tristan and I to float around this world.

That’s a lifetime away now, another fuzzy memory different world I’m not sure even fully existed except now as a look back in time. A moment leading up to this, these moments. It seemed like a dream at the time–winning the love of your life finally after more than a decade wondering where she’d gone, if you’d ever see her again. Calling a van your home and deserts your playground. Skipping around like literally there was nowhere to be, and no good reason to hurry getting there.

Then again, I’m writing this from a hammock swaying slow and softly breezy from Key Largo, where she and I and Tristan, along with our much bigger family now, will celebrate Christmas for our sixth time, every one in a different location.

The first year we were lucky enough to spend together, we broke down just outside of a hotel room in Colorado Springs. I snapped a branch from a bush and tied it up in a small ring of purple fairy lights I had hanging in the bus, a few clothespin dolls Tristan had made. We watched A Christmas Story and drank Jameson and I was broke, but there were handmade presents for all.

The next year in a beach house on the Oregon Coast as we cooked our second son, Winter Erik. After that, a house in the Black Mountains of North Carolina, and the following year, our youngest Wylder only a few months old, we strung lights in a treehouse in nearby Montreat, NC.

Last year we sourced a local Sitka spruce sapling and strung it with popcorn. Christmas came and went, and we planted it in the forests of Astoria, Oregon. And now, a potted Palm for Christmas in the Keys.

It seems we go back to the places we love come the holidays. But I don’t really go anywhere at all, I’m everywhere and always some particular somewhere at the same time.

With the woman I love, on the adventure of a lifetime.