Every year around the holidays I go through this mental argument about family or animals. In 1999, my husband and I packed up everything and moved from Kansas to Texas. When we first moved I went home at least once a month to visit family. After the first year the visits started spreading out more. It's only about a 6 hour drive so it wasn't a big deal to take a 3 day weekend and go visit. We don't have any family in Texas, everyone is still in Kansas.
In 2004, when I got my first horse that all changed. Now I am lucky if I go visit once a year. If I do go to Kansas for a weekend it is usually alone. My husband stays home and takes care of the "four legged fur kids". I don't trust most people to take care of my animals the way I want them cared for. The people that I do trust have animals of their own and can't leave them to care for mine. We currently have 3 horses (an Appaloosa, a Peruvian Paso, and a Percheron cross), 1 miniature donkey, and 2 dogs (a blue heeler mix and a corgi). So caring for all of the animals takes time and each has their own quirks that you need to be familiar with. Somebody that is not familiar with them could easily get stepped on, kicked, bit, knocked down, or who knows what.
Every year we choose our animals over family. I miss my family and wish I could see them more but the "four legged fur kids" are our family and our number one priority. Christmas morning I woke up really sad and missing my family a lot, it's been over a year since I have seen them. Then I looked out the window and seen the horses and donkey and looked at my feet and seen both of the dogs and realized I am so blessed. I really have a great life and I am so lucky to have such amazing animals and a wonderful husband that completely supports my passion for animals. We also have really great friends that make sure we don't spend holidays alone, it's like have family here.
Someday my husband and I hope to buy our own place with more land and have more animals. For now, we love and appreciate what we have; we have so much more than some people. Take time to look at what you do have instead of always looking at what you want, you might be surprised.
I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas. I also hope that as the new year approaches that you have fond memories of 2012.