I had good intentions to blog daily during our trip back to the States, but quickly realized that between jet lag and emotional overload, weeding out the stories that were mine to tell would take me more time and effort than I was willing to invest. Now I "owe" NaBloPoMo a few entries -- I can't remember if I stated it on here or if it was one of those passing FaceBook comments, but when I decided to throw my fingers in the "post every day for a month" ring, I also threw in a reality clause: missing one day here and there could be overlooked; missing two or more posts in a row would need to be made up for. I'm kinda excited to pay that debt. The beauty of paying it online is that you don't have to be as excited as I am and I'll never know!
The trip home was, on the balance, good. I hadn't seen any of my siblings in person since we moved to Wales in August of 2011, and although many things have changed in all of our lives, it wasn't too long before we had found our familiar roles. "Familiar", please note, does not necessarily equal "comfortable". Sometimes a bit of discomfort is a good thing. I can't remember the exact wording she used, but my grandmother once told me that she thought it was necessary sometimes for things (relationships) to break so that the pieces could be rearranged into a more comfortable fit. Sometimes, she said, tears are the best glue -- lubricating shards and softening edges so that previously incompatible pieces could harmoniously exist side-by-side, oftentimes creating a more beautiful pattern than the original. Or something like that. My grandmother was a woman of few words and those that she did use were used pointedly and precisely, so I'm certain that she made her point much more concisely. I've never been able to say three words if fifteen could convey the same message.
Thanksgiving was as you might expect. Lots of people, lots of food. Lots of emotion, some good, some not-so-good. How is it that all that emotion, good and bad, built up over days and years, can be distilled into into a single inconsequential moment? And then that single inconsequential moment has the power to coalesce into The Memory, at least in your (my) mind so that in the future, when you (I) flip through your (my) mental Binder of Memories, that moment becomes the folder tab for the entire event? It feels so big, so overriding, so dominant in your (my) mind that then you (I) are (am) surprised, shocked, when you (I) compare notes with the others that were there and discover that your (my) Memory is just a piece of a part of a memory for them. A mere blip in their Memory of events. Unworthy of even capitalization, much less an entire tab.
I will think of this as The Spaghetti Thanksgiving. Not because we had spaghetti for Thanksgiving, but because all of my emotion coalesced into a pot of spaghetti sauce and I did ugly things, fully aware that the things I was doing were driven by ugly emotions. I saw my ugly thoughts and deeds reflected back to me and, realizing the pain I caused, I apologized, but the damage had been done. The peace had been broken. I wait now, hoping that tears will be enough to smooth the sharp edges, that time will push the pieces back together.
The night before we left for the UK, my sister presented me with an unexpected apology for An Event that I didn't even realize had happened. She saw confirmation in my behaviour that there was a disconnect between us and her peace was broken. I can only hope that my assurances and her tears have eroded the sharp edges so that we can find a more comfortable fit once again.
The spaghetti sauce, in case you were wondering, was entirely edible.
The other news from home is happy and hopeful:
-Daddy is doing well. He is following doctors orders, cutting back on the coffee and, generally, paying better attention to what his body is telling him about how he's treating it.
-Momma has reclaimed her spunk and drive, something I hadn't seen in a while. Something I was happy to see again.
-They have found a place to make their next home in and, fingers crossed, will be ready to move in shortly after the new year.
-One of my brothers-in-law underwent knee surgery the day we left to come back to the UK. His response to the anesthesia or some part of the process was not as easy as had been hoped for so his stay was longer than expected. He was released to go home yesterday, so is hopefully now comfortably beginning to recover at home.
-My siblings and their families all seem to have found (made) their own happiness. It was an absolute delight to meet the three youngest members of the family and to get reacquainted with the nephews and nieces that I had already met before moving to Wales. I am absolutely partial, but also absolutely convinced that these kids are going to go on to make the world around them a better place. If we lived in an ideal world, I'd be able to spend time with them all more frequently and individually, but there is a special kind of excitement that comes with getting to meet them for the first time over and over again as they morph into the amazing people they are becoming.
-In addition to getting to play the part of proud aunt, I got to meet my siblings again and couldn't be more thrilled to know that my roots come from the same place theirs do. Four years is a long time to be "out of the loop" (largely by choice, though distance and time zones play their part in the disconnect), but the parts that fit still fit and the parts that don't aren't as divisive as they once were. I suppose that means we've all grown and changed. Their development, of course, is far more obvious to me than my own.
That's all the online time I've given myself for today. The rest of the day is slated for catching up on laundry and sleep, for reconnecting and beginning to design our next new normal. For figuring out what it means to be "home".