December went from being a slow laid back month to a festival of traveling, family, holidays, and babymaking. It’s amazing just how much time and effort you have to set aside for all of that.
Somewhere around the time of Dean’s kidney stone incident, everything went from insane to calm. Something about being vulnerable and stuck in a hospital gown made Dean appreciate me a little more. Something about racing to and from hospitals just to hold his hand made me realize exactly how much I love that man too. Everything kind of calmed down from then on out. I think the conversation before the ER visit about being okay with things going at a different pace also helped. I took the pressure off of him and then was there for him and the arguments just kind of stopped entirely. It was the reassurance we both needed.
And I stand by my decisions. I told him to move in when I got pregnant or when his mom moves, whichever comes first, and not rush it. I decided the less stress that was on him the better it was for him and his testicles. This was on the condition that when it was time to actually MAKE the baby, he’d be around the entire week timeframe I needed and not leave. In other words, now that the pressure was off, we could both relax. From relaxation came a deeper love and understanding and things have been utterly amazing. I feel like we’ve survived something and come out stronger even though nothing truly bad happened.
After my early December trip to Ohio came and went, I was left with a renewed sense of family togetherness and the importance of being together. It’s no secret that I have not gotten along with my dad’s side of the family in recent years. It never made sense to me either because my few trips to Ohio a year were vacations to me. I know going out to a farm to do nothing for a week is not thrilling to most, but it was to me. My vile former Stepmonster really fucked all that up and it’s taken years to wash away her harmful manipulations. Then grandpa died and things changed. His funeral and our subsequent family gathering was the first time I’d seen most of them in eons and I missed it.
After that weekend with my dad when we took grandma back, I felt that spark of love and warmth that I’d been missing. I felt that piece of my heart fill back up and the shadowy memories of old faded into the darkness for good. Whatever Stepmonster had done seemed to have vanished for good and I felt WELCOME again. I felt like I belonged there again. I felt GOOD being there with my family! I couldn’t explain this to Dean, but I knew that was the reason I had to go back for the holidays.
Then a miracle happened. Both of my brothers had managed to get time off and change plans and were both headed to Ohio to see the family. I knew right at that moment that I had to be there for Christmas. Then another miracle: Members of my family chipped in and paid for a plane ticket for one sibling to travel and sent a large sum of cash my way that covered all my gas expenses. Even my mom volunteered to take all three of my pets (2 cats and a dog) if I brought them over to her. Destiny? Clearly!
Initially I’d told Dean I’d spend Christmas with his family and we’d go to his dad’s one night and be with his mom another night. Then my sibling miracle occurred and I changed it. I didn’t want Dean to have to choose… I knew it was selfish that I was making him choose, but I was determined to get to Ohio and now had the funds. So I told him outright that this was the first time in over 3 years that The Siblings Three (me and my brothers) would be able to have Christmas together and that I leaving. I told him I knew it was selfish and I didn’t want him to choose, but he had to. It was either Christmas with me or without me. He chose me.
It was not an ideal situation… I mean here I am upheaving plans, cramming 16 hours worth of driving into a 3 day period, and squishing this mini trip into our lives just so I could get one night with both of my brothers. I did everything in my power to show him how grateful I was and told him over and over how wonderful it was that he was doing this for me. I even thanked his mom for understanding and told her how much I appreciate her when we were all 3 at dinner the weekend before.
So the day before Christmas Eve, I was off work and spent the day getting everything together. This included wrangling up my 3 furballs, hauling Nola’s giant cage down the stairs and into my truck, packing up the truck, spending an hour with mom and the “kids” so everyone would adjust nicely, and then spending 2 hours in traffic to get to Dean’s shop for my oil change and wiper blade fix.
Dean’s mom (I call her Mom Person because I think her first name is too informal but her last name is too formal) had dinner with us and we laughed and discussed the trip. Then out of the blue it was presents time. I had a gift for her that I wrapped up with some effort that was more meaningful than pricey. It was used (two gigantic picture frames that hold about 40 photos each) but I know she loves photos and has them everywhere, so I hoped she would look past the slightly torn inner template. Anyway, next thing I know she hands me a gift bag with two coffee mugs (cat lover and dog lover) and a chef’s knife set! I’d told Dean I wanted a chef’s knife, not her! I was visibly touched and happy and then made her open her gift. Then she went to get Dean his and he went with her. Next thing I know, I have a huge heavy box on my lap.
The man bought me pots and pans. A 13 piece brand spanking new set of pots and pans!!!!!!!!! I’ve never had new cookware. I’ve had hand-me-downs and Salvation Army store finds and random pieces from garage sales. This is a full set, all matching, and it’s NEW. I was so beyond happy, I can’t even explain it.
And THEN we still had Ohio ahead of us.
to be continued…