So I am set to go “home” for Christmas. It is something I cannot imagine not doing. I was the closest I have ever been to not going home this year. I had a really horrible visit over the summer. But it seemed wrong to not take the opportunity to visit my grandparents or to punish my mother for my father’s ill behavior.
My last trip home seemed to bring all the anger and hurt—which I have tried to leave behind—and shove my nose in it. This year was my father’s turn to host the big Labor Day gathering known as “Bouja.” It is all the people my dad grew up with in Central Minnesota gathering together for a weekend of festivities. Bouja is a big stew made in a huge kettle over an open fire, all the vegetables from everyone’s gardens goes into it…and a whole lot of meat (we think it might be Polish in origin…or eastern European). A series of events occurred that made me recall some of the not so good family times…and I thought, “why did I come back for this. I have my own life, what was I thinking.”
Then the dog got shot. She was out by the road and it was probably some jack-ass hopped up on meth. No, it wasn’t someone at the party…But well, that pretty much made it the worst trip back to Minnesota ever. And the worst Bouja ever for my parents and I. There is nothing like spending hours with the emergency vet trying to decide if it is more humane to put the family pet down or see if they can reconstruct her muzzle and save her. We opted for pain meds and an observation/work-up by the vets and when the bleeding couldn’t be stopped it was obvious the choice. So that is something added to the list of things we will never speak of again in the family.
So why am I going home?
I guess because I need to. I need to be with my ridiculouslyand gloriously dysfunctional family (who can’t even communicate with each other about a family meal on Christmas day—it has been like pulling teeth). A chance to recall how much I really do like my family (warts and all as they say) and a chance to remember what is important in life. I get so cut off in my daily routine of work and worry about money, I rarely sit back and reflect on what is important.
I recently applied for a job back on MN…and it is a tough choice. Should I stay or should I go—exactly what I was thinking Joe Strummer. It is equally weighted on the push/pull factors. But being in MN will help with the decision. How will I know if I am leaving MD prematurely? And does the distance help keep my family closer than we would be if I lived within a few hours…hard to know. Being with my family provides clearness for me…even if it is just a reminder as to why I ended up in Baltimore in the first place. So here is to rejuvenation.