If this were three years ago, Howard and I would be rushing around, packing and getting ready for the big road trip home, because we are the black sheeps who always live a “safe but drivable distance” away from family. Except for this current venture in AK, of course.
By “safe”, I mean, the only time we lived near family since I left home for college? Was a time between 1997-1999, in which I didn’t work for 7 months, realized I make one BORED ASS housewife, (I mean you can only eat off the floors so much, know what I mean?), had some serious mental issues, lost a baby, and my family only actually made the ten minute (ten minutes people!) drive to my house about twice. And those visits were from my mother and grandparents. This, when they tell me they miss me all the time, when they act like they are devastated that I’m sooooo far away. It was a dark time in my life, my grandfather’s death? was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was time to get the hell away. So they would begin to miss me again. And bad things would stop happening. And I like “fresh starts” when I can get them. God, wait. I totally got off on a tangient there, didn’t I?
Usually we’d have the jeep packed by now, so we could make the drive across the state immediately after I get off work. We’d arrive at memaw’s house, have her hug us and cry a little then we’d stay up and chat for about an hour then crawl into bed.
The next morning, I would wake up and immediately hear my mom and memaw bickering. I would hear crescendos of their bantering back and forth. Occasionally hearing them call each other by name:
It’s pretty funny to them, because they think nothing of it. I don’t spend that much time actually WITH my family so I get all tense and it predetermines the mood of my entire day.
Howard and I quietly make our way to the bathroom to share a shower and get dressed, then we sneak into the living room, past their arguing, then WE argue over who gets what section of the newspaper. We also quietly look at each other and giggle at mom and memaw’s bickering. They both pause to tell us “Good morning!”. My mom always comes over and gives me a snuggle and says and I quote “MMMMMM (as she is squeezing me), there’s my baby!” I admit, it makes me feel good. Memaw is just as affectionate but always worried she woke us up. If we’re up before 11am, she gets worried that SHE’S the reason we woke up. She has this notion that because we are young? we must possibly sleep until noon. She’s so adorable. TANGIENT AGAIN! SORRY!
The rest of the family begins to arrive. My sister comes in the door with her kids, I go a little nuts over my niece and nephew, because I really don’t get to see them as much as I’d like. She immediately becomes like a damn mama bear with her kids. She is frighteningly overprotective (Kim, this is nothing I haven’t told you a million times and yes I am broadcasting it to all of the internet and my 2.2 readers) of her kids. Howard and I just ignore her and hug and kiss them anyway. Her husband just stands back because he knows how mama bears can be. My aunt and uncle arrive and my two cousins. My stepdad arrives (because he is smart and knows to stay away until the cooking is done) with my stepsister. At noon sharp, it is a flurry of plates, turkey, forks, not knowing where the salt is, ALWAYS finding the innards that memaw ALWAYS forgets about, and then we all sit down and eat, the conversation is lively, usually my mom and sister end up arguing over something, because those two? I have now accepted, will always argue. It’s how they show their love for each other. (warped? now you’re beginning to understand ME aren’t you?) I end up getting VERY upset because I want to live in a fantasy world where we’re all happy for once. Ye tho I hold it all inside. Afterwards, my aunt, my sister and I all pitch in and do the dishes and do not allow memaw or mom to do any of the clean up because they do all the cooking. My uncle and my brother in law usually go outside and talk about cars. Howard usually stretches out in the recliner and talks to my stepdad and my cousin, Kevin, while they channel surf. Then my sister will begin to get antsy and announce to everyone that she’s leaving. Howard and I shower the kids with hugs and kisses once again. Then mom, memaw, my aunt, and myself will sit in the kitchen and nibble on desserts and gossip. Then mom will give us a hug and she and my stepdad and stepsister will leave, my aunt and uncle and cousins will leave and me, memaw and Howard will take a long nap before going over to Howard’s mom’s where it is much more sane. But that will be my entry for tomorrow because reliving all this familial bliss? Has spooked me.
I need a valium. Or perhaps just a stiff drink.
I’m kidding. I think….