Home Turf

My parents arrived in town yesterday for a week or so of visitation. The last time they were out here was about eight years ago, despite my frequent entreaties and invitations to return. They traveled just about everywhere else-- Holland, Denmark, Austria, Peru, Thailand, India-- but not to see their youngest child. And yet, despite my faithful annual Thanksgiving trips home for the past 13 years, I'm the bad guy if I give even a hint that maybe perhaps I kinda sorta don't want to make the pilgrimage this year.

It's not that I don't want to see my family. I do-- especially my nieces, who are pretty much as cute as nieces can possibly be. Far cuter than yours, trust me. It's just that when I go home there's nothing for me to DO, and everyone gets upset with me for doing it. Everyone else more or less goes about their normal routine modulo all the Thanksgiving prep, and I'm kinda dropped in the middle of it. It doesn't feel like quality family time. And if I'm using my vacation to cross the country to the arctic northeast, I want quality family time. Because a Hawaiian beach is behind door #2, and Monty makes a compelling offer.

Last year, though, was actually quite good. Score one for telling your loved ones how you feel, rather than letting things fester. Ok, so they festered for 12 years. Work with me here. So I've got hopes that this year will also be good Quality Time.

But I'm excited to have the folks on my turf, staying under my roof. Even if the first thing they did was point out all the things I needed to change or fix around the house (out with the old shower curtain and bath mat, in with the new...). Now they're in my world, and I'm in charge of Quality Time. I'm Julie, the cruise director. It's just them and me, and our time together doesn't rely on their suspending their normal routine to be with me, but on my suspending my routine for them. I've got the power and responsibility to make Quality Time happen. Not to impress them, but to just be with them. Show them a little of my world.

Besides, I love 'em. Having them here is just plain fun.

We'll see how I feel a week from now.

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