Every year my family used to take a picture in front of the tree at Christmas time. I’m not even sure when we started it, and I wasn’t really aware of it until a couple years ago I got to see all the pictures and it’s kind of cool, seeing the yearly progression of height, hair style and fashion sense. My acne was incredibly bad in high school. Thank God it’s cleared up. Incidentally, this break I’ve been battling a zit in my ear. I’ve had zits around my ear before, notably one where the lobe attaches to the cheek, but this thing is resolutely in the ear, right next to the canal. How do you pop a zit like that? It ended up popping on its own. I woke up one morning and my ear canal was crusty. Seasons greetings.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. This year my parents didn’t get a tree. Just, I’m married now as is my sister, who has a tree at her own house. I guess they didn’t much see the point. Which made me sad. The past few Christmases have all been kinda, dunno what the right word is, maybe groundbreaking. Just, they’re each marked a significant irrevocable change in our family. I think I wrote before 3 Christmases ago, me and my sister were sitting around the TV late one night, probably watching an infomercial (SN. The Miracle Blade 2 is my current favorite infomercial.) and we realized this was our last Christmas where that would happen and all of a sudden it got really sad.

The past couple years my sister has been married and that was weird because when I was home I was home alone. Very odd feeling, that. Around Christmastime, at least.

And now it’s different because my wife is here. Very odd. Makes me feel way more like a guest. And it means I can’t screw around anymore and wake up at 4 PM. I think that’s the biggest thing. I dunno, all these things to me mark how I’m growing up and I’m not a kid anymore, and I can’t act like one. Like, now with Jieun here I have to be sensitive to her and can’t just do whatever I want, whenever I want. And the way I interact with my parents is also different, being a couple. I dunno. It’s been a gradual thing but getting married has kind of cemented it, this feeling that now I don’t come home to Houston for the holidays, but I visit my house.

Seeing other married couples here also, and ones with kids, I dunno, it’s just interesting. I think in a lot of ways, it’s not that you suddenly grow up and become ready for the next stage, whether that’s marriage or parenthood or whatever. But it’s more, you take the next step and that forces you to grow up. Obviously there’s a certain maturity level one needs to have before taking vows or having a kid and stuff. But yeah, I think a whole lot of the growing happens after the fact. I dunno, just a feeling.

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