Today I went to my hometown to visit my parents. When I was younger, I could never have imagined leaving this place. Now every time I come back, I realize how much I have changed and how much it...well, it hasn't.
To understand the whole setup, Internet, you need to know a bit of background information.
I have the best Dad in the whole world. He is a pretty quiet guy, but when he speaks it is because he has something important to say. He has this great, understated sense of humor that allows him to tell a killer joke - if you do not know him well, you do not expect him to say something unbelievably funny. He jokes that his motto is "Speak softly, and carry a big stick."
My Mom has a unique personality. She has a ferocious temper, but she can also be unbelievably sweet and thoughtful. The mood can swing steeply in either direction much faster than normal humans can keep up with it. She loves to create drama - something is always wrong, so one must tread lightly when asking the simple "How are you?" series of questions. Our personalities conflict pretty heavily, so we get along much better since I moved out.
So this weekend my parents had a Chicken BBQ at their church, so I met them there. Dad is battling his latest installment of the gout, plus a terrible allergy infection, so he was feeling miserable. Mom was in her element as the reigning Social Queen.
For me, this whole scenario induced sensory overload. My mother expected me to follow her Social Butterfly lead. Problem. I am not a Social Butterfly. I am a born Wall Flower. Furthermore, I do not remember a lot of the church people. (Hey, people look different after years go by!) I certainly do not know their children, or their grandchildren or their father's sister's friend.
I have some distant relatives that I always considered snotty, and of course several of them were there. Mom seized the golden opportunity to instruct me to "Go talk to JC", who is one of them. I never talked to JC when we saw each other every day. I have not seen her in three years. I have no desire to talk to her now. And since she does not have a sense of how loud her normal speaking voice is, I am sure that JC and everyone within a 500 ft radius also heard the directions I was given. I am also sure they noted the directions being completely ignored as I made my not-so-subtle escape.
The worst part of this type of event for me is the kid-bragging. The kid-bragging is normally geared toward the adult holding his or her child. "Aw A, this is baby 84635. Isn't she just the cutest? Look at her. Ssss." I have often wondered why my mother hisses at small children. I wonder what they actually think of it. Does it cause them to be terrified of snakes for life?
This kid encounter is followed up by an instant play-by-play of the encounter that just occured in case I missed something while I was standing right there. Next comes the full on word-for-word recap for Dad to hear. Sometimes it must be recapped for others as well.
J & I have tried for 6 1/2 years to conceive a child. These kid-bragging situations would be painful enough for anyone, but it is really difficult when you are facing infertility issues. I mean, come on, is a little sensitivity too much to ask for?
All in all, despite what I have just described, it was a good trip. No one died and everyone is still speaking. That's what I call progress. Now I am exhausted.