I was feeling a bit like a voyeur driving through my neighborhood today. I found myself gazing longingly at the driveways full of cars and the windows twinkling with lights. I found myself thinking about the hustle and bustle of entertaining, the beaujolais, the egg nog, the intoxicating scents and tastes. I couldn’t help having a momentary twang of regret for my lifestyle. You see, while everyone else is arriving at their destinations today, I’m on my way to mine – work. The problem with the hospitality industry is that when everyone else is enjoying their time with family and friends, you’re busy taking care of the ones who don’t want to deal with the preparations and clean up. I haven’t had a Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years Eve off in years. There is very little ability for most chefs to a vacation at this time of the year. It’s not something that they tell you when you enter culinary school, it might be a hard way to sell someone on the career choice. It gives me pause, thinking about the way the industry has to keep on moving despite the lives of the people in it. What happens if Patrick and I start a family? I am very rarely home before 11:00 p.m. What if I never get to read bedtime stories? What if I never get to spend Thanksgiving with my family? What if I can’t be there to see my own children’s Christmas morning excitement? Maybe that ‘s one of the reasons that this industry is so male dominated, but that’s a little sexist. Surely it’s as hard on the men as it is on the women to give up that time. After all, don’t most people want the comforts of home and family, especially at this time of year? Perhaps I’m romanticizing it, I suppose if I was spending the weekend being driven crazy by family it might not seem so ideal. The grass is always greener, as they say. But truly I can’t help it, the longing is there every year. I wish I could be home for the holidays.