This weekend was exhausting. We dropped the dog off at my brother-in-law’s house yesterday and despite the fact that it went really well (she was thrilled to have two other dogs to run around with and given enough treats, should warm up to everyone in no time), I still feel hugely guilty about it. We’ve called a few times to check in and apparently she did approximately zero pining at the door for us and has already adjusted. How dare she.
And because that emotional trauma wasn’t enough for one weekend, today I went with my youngest brother and my dad to help clean out my paternal grandma’s house, as it’s been sold and my grandma is moving to an assisted living complex in San Diego. My father’s family is of Puritan Pilgrim stock – they came over on the Mayflower and crossed the Rockies in covered wagons and survived the Dust Bowl and mostly are just hardy, silent people who rarely express emotion. Needless to say, this family dynamic is the complete opposite of that I’ve experienced with my mom’s huge, warm, loud, nosy Jewish family. My relationships with my dad’s side have always been a bit distant and very deeply rooted in experiences I had with cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents as a child, whereas my relationships with my mom’s side have continued to blossom as I’ve gotten older (i.e. I’ve been known to drink Appletinis with my grandfather while floating around in his pool and discussing birth control options with my great-aunts).
Long story short, I’m sad today not so much because her house held important moments for me in the present, but rather because there is so much childhood history there. My dad’s parents hosted Christmas every year and my seven cousins and two brothers and I spent countless hours in sleeping bags in their living room, taking inventories of Christmas gifts and gorging ourselves on giant plastic candy canes filled with Hershey’s Kisses. I went to the house today to say good bye and to take an oak tree sapling from the backyard and finally make it into the bomb shelter under the house that I’d been terrified of my entire life. All of those missions were accomplished.
I was also inspired to put up our Christmas decorations here at home tonight, so my husband and I spent a few hours drinking horrific chocolate peppermint coffee, building holiday iTunes playlists and planning our “24 days of Christmas” movie schedule (we legitimately have 24 different Christmas movies. My husband has a problem). We also assembled the ridiculous fake tree I bought for $25 at Target three days before last Christmas – it is six feet tall and 24 inches wide at its base. It is insane and actually pretty perfect for us. Our house is now festive and adorable and it is an unexpectedly cheerful way to end this weekend of sad.