2004-11-17 20:18:35 (UTC)

Birds and Gifts

I made another quick trip to Albany this morning. On my
journey home I noticed small black birds sitting on
telephone wires like scattered notes on lines of music.
John and I had a long discussion last night. We were
ambushed by his mother who wants us there for Christmas. I
balked at this as we've spent almost every Christmas Day of
our married lives at our in-laws house. I could understand
this when the boys were small but they're grown now. We
didn't go last year as my Mother was dying and I really
needed to be there for her, and especially for my Dad, but
we'd spent a good eight hours with my parents-in-law and
extended family the previous Christmas Day and we'd spent
all of Thanksgiving Day there as well. My sister-in-law did
all the cooking at Christmas, except the pies which I
brought, as I'd done all the cooking, including the
desserts, at Thanksgiving. Christmas dinner was not a
success and not an experience I'd care to repeat. The
highlight was when the smoke alarm went off when the
marshmallows on the sweet potatoes burst into flame.

My in-laws don't drink coffee (it isn't a religious thing;
they just don't drink it) and John hates instant so that
means no coffee. And worse, my mother-in-law's idea of
entertainment is talking on and on and on, mostly gossiping
about people we've never met and have no interest in ever
meeting, many of whom we could never meet even if we wanted
to as they're dead and have been dead for years.
Occasionally she'll make inappropriate and insensitive
comments about family members who are present which causes
hurt and angry feelings.

The decision we reached last night, after a very, very long
discussion, was that we would spend a few hours, and a few
hours only, on Christmas Day with John's parents. That is
his gift to them. I will also go and I won't complain or
whine about it before, during or afterwards. That will be
my gift to John.

We also discussed our silver wedding anniversary which is on
December 21st. Months ago we had agreed that a trip to
Europe in the spring wouldn't work because of our elderly
parents. All three are getting on in years and frankly, none
of them are in the best of health, physically or mentally.
We had also considered a trip to Hawaii but I explained to
John that Hawaii was not somewhere I really wanted to go. I
had planned on being there with Steven on his R&R, something
which never happened, and I don't particularly have good
feelings about it as a vacation spot. We don't want a
party, which would be complicated by the fact that our
anniversary is only four days before Christmas. We're
thinking perhaps of a few days at the Oregon Coast. We'll
need to come to a decision soon.