You think you've grown up.  You have a car payment.  You have a horse payment.  You live on your own, despite your parents living less than half an hour away.  Your 10 year high school reunion has come and gone.  But there's nothing like a noogie and a bear hug from a man you've called your uncle for twenty years to realize that you will always be seven years old to your parents and your parents' friends (aka the Other Old Folks).

That and a full house at the dining table, directing you back to the kids' table on Christmas Eve.  Seat's taken, there's no room at the inn, etc etc.  And except for the age of the "kids," everything at the kids' table is basically the same.  We fetch scraps from the main dining table and sneak pieces of the dessert long before it's served.  The topic of discussion centers around making fun of the parents with a light sprinkling of sports and movies.  My hair at holiday dinner parties, which has over the years varied from braid crowns to pony tails, has now grown up into a very mature two-bun updo circa late 1980s.  Siri, instead of donning her Little Mermaid tights as she did for Thanksgiving this year, wears her flannel pajama onesie that she barely takes off for the duration of her visit.  Which is exactly five seconds more mature than the ratty college hoodie that I don for the occasion (burnt orange goes with everything).

Okay so maybe the Other Old Folks have a legitimate reason for thinking that you haven't grown up.  That our family is frozen in a time capsule that is only cracked open when they see us.  And perhaps it is a little magical that way.  Our family somehow always manages to get together for the holidays - both Christmas and Thanksgiving - no matter how far apart we are.  We always assume the same roles as we have back then and always groan in exasperation when my mom tries to convince us all that we need to wade through traffic to look at Christmas lights.

It's the first Monday of the new year and the first day back at work and I'd like to think that the holiday spirit is finally making its way out of my system.  I'll keep the twinkling lights up a little bit longer this year and bottle up some of the magic for 2015.  Don't worry, I'll share and come June, we'll all be guzzling from that bottle.