I am in Texas. I am back with my family, which is always a comforting yet strange thing. Strange, probably for two reasons: it is so temporary, I am not used to it. I am not used to being someone's kid, I usually feel very on my own (and occasionally resentful of that, though there's really no one that I resent). And yes, so temporary that it hardly seems useful to invest myself in anything. The days leading up to my departure were stressful and occasionally very emotional, but explaining that or anything really significant to anyone around here doesn't seem like a good idea. I revert to kid mode, being a bit impatient with conversation, not wanting to go to church (well, more like not wanting to get up at all), getting annoyed with my father's OCD about my (autistic) sister's habits. I don't want to get annoyed, but I just do. Still. It's nice having real food every day as opposed to snacks or canned soup or In&Out, which is basically what I've been eating for the past six months. It's nice having nowhere in particular to be. And presents. Presents are good, too.
A few days before I left for here I entertained for the first time-- threw a lovely fancy-dress cocktail party at my empty house. It filled in rather nicely, and I think everyone (all 37ish of them) had a great time, however I was sick and working throughout the day so by the time the party happened I was a mess and did not look at all as I had thought. Which is a bummer-- if you can't look fabulous at your own 1960's theme-party then when the hell can you? It was also illuminated to me what leeches people can be. However, most guests were very kind. Unfortunately, no one bothered to clean up a blasted thing, including the people who stayed the night (5 unmade beds, even!?), which left me holding the bag. Tiresome. There were also a few breakdowns which occurred after most of the guests had gone-- sadly, I suppose these are the only memories that witnesses retain from events like that. Although I had splendid fun, I don't think I see many more parties in my future. I don't have the stamina.
Anyway, after I spent all blasted night cleaning up I hopped on a plane here. I have not stopped eating since. Christmas itself was low-key and cozy, after we went to Christmas Eve service at our old church (which has become a scary megachurch in the past few years) we engaged in my most favorite part of all Christmases: watching It's A Wonderful Life. I will smack anyone who insists that film is cheesy-- it almost seems ahead of it's time in it's presentation of life as it is: very hard. Very disapointing. Full of flawed characters, but still-- and even because of that-- it's so wonderful. We all have our personal definitions of success, and we can become so crestfallen when we don't make it, but so often we must pull back and observe what really matters, the true definition of success-- love. Love that has been earned through pursuing good things in life, by aiding others, by being a geuinely good person. George Bailey is one of if not THE most perfect film character because he manages to be SO GOOD, the ultimate protagonist who gets life thrown at him, but still so human. George is flawed and resentful and self-loathing occasionally, but that makes him even more of a good man because he does what's right even when he hates to. The scene when he returns to his house, downcast, rips on his family and tears apart his pictures and paper bridges, all the things symbolizing his dreams going to shit, is such a moving scene and makes me cry to no end. All the better then for him to come back with joy, finally seeing in himself and his life what everyone else can see. We all count for something, even when we think we're garbage. That's such an amazing thing to show.
Anyway, Christmas morning saw my parents coming into my room and jumping on my bed until I got up (revenge, I see how this works), lucky charms (yes, a weird tradition of ours...), and presents. We don't make Dory open presents anymore, we just leave things out for her to find if she wants to (she hates opening things, she has tarnished many a holiday with her fits over just that). After we all devoured our goodies, we strolled over to the neighbors, a big homeschool family, to eat food. After all that, my oldest and dearest friend and her mother came over, and Emily and I ran around outside in the fields, laughing and climbing on things and discussing life, the universe, and haystacks. Today we saw extended family (and all of the new babies... so many babies... I would be lying if I didn't admit that this makes me feel slightly pressured to marry the next man that crosses my path, here's hoping he's Jon Hamm).
It's strange being here. Strange. My parents look so old. My second father is still in the hospital in Dallas. My sister does not change. I almost can't relax, even though I've been looking forward to being here for months. I'm too antsy, there's too much that must happen in life. Strange, this adulthood thing. I'm never as mature about it as I wish I was. Oh well. War is over.