It's always difficult when you have to disappoint your family, especially around the holidays.
My wife and I decided to try something new this year for Christmas; if nothing else, to continue the theme of this column: "New Beginnings." After all, Heather and I have been married more than three years now; I'm running out of "new" experiences to write about.
In all seriousness, we thought it would be a great idea to spend Christmas away this year and booked a trip to Jamaica over the holiday. After all, I just spent the past four months carrying 18 credits to finish my master's degree while balancing full-time employment. I could use a little rest and relaxation.
Plus, we're both very curious to see if Santa Claus gets the memo and finds us in the Caribbean.
Anyway, as you can imagine, my side of the family was a little shocked when they heard the news. Don't get me wrong, they've been nothing but understanding, but I can see the disappointment in everyone's face when we talk about our upcoming trip.
Some families reading this might plan holiday trips themselves in an effort to get away from the chaos of the holidays. Others will call it selfish and ridiculous. I can certainly see both sides of the argument, but decided I needed a change this year.
My family always has put a lot of emphasis on the holidays, especially Christmas. It's a time to come together as a family and show our appreciation for one another.
This sentiment has become even more important this year as a couple family members are battling health issues. I have two incredible grandfathers facing tough times ahead; it's an understatement to say that I admire and love them both for their courage and strength.
Unfortunately, we booked our little holiday trip before these recent occurrences came to light. Nobody could have known this was coming, but I'll still struggle a bit on Christmas as I think of family back at home.
Disrupting the norms is never easy, but sometimes it's necessary. One of the best pieces of marriage advice I ever received was "Worry about making each other happy first; all others are a distant second."
Sure, we'll be home the following weekend to celebrate Christmas - albeit a few days late - but it's not quite the same, is it? For some, Christmas might just be another day on the calendar. But for my family, it's always meant something more.
We might be the black sheep of the family this Christmas, but there's always next year. We'll just have to hope a family member decides to get married in Las Vegas next Christmas.
Suddenly, we're off the hook.
Beardsley, a native of Loyalsock Township, was a former Sun-Gazette reporter. He now resides in Scranton. His column is published on the third Sunday of each month.
He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.