And it is a whimper of self-discovery for Candy. I've come to understand, more pointedly, exactly how crucial it is for me to have some time completely alone every day.
Starting on December 24th, I travelled. Not on an island holiday or a cozy ski-lodge with hot-and-cold running hot chocolate. Oh, wait.
No. It was 8 solid days of thick time slots alternating between:
1. being with family
2. being in the car going toward more family
My uber-tastic fiance did the driving, thank God.
And this is not one of those stories about how my/his godawful codependent family chewed the elastic out of my last nerve so that my mental underpants collapsed into a heap around my mental ankles. Both families are downright groovy.
This was our second Christmas together. Last year when I took the fiance home to the bowels of Indiana for his initial presentation to my clan, all 28 of my family members were, per my instruction, waiting inside the door of my parents' condo, wearing hideously genuine-looking Billy Bob teeth. It was my own little slice of hazing for the man I hoped could make the cut. A man whose face I could not read when he looked up from taking off his winter boots to get his first glance at my people. He slowly scanned the crowd that had circled around him. 28 people, some with video cameras, all wearing rotting, yellow, oversized, putrid fake teeth. A combo of "Deliverence" and "Meet the Fokkers."
I asked him what he had been thinking when he saw them. Before he caught on, he said he'd felt sorry for the first poor bastard with the wretched teeth, then perplexed by the second, thinking it may have had to do with being in Indiana, where perhaps dentists do not reside.
When I was married before, a slight tension gathered in my family when we posed for the annual group photo. My then-spouse was definitely on his way out of my family. It took years to come to completion because sometimes you try so hard to make something work that you sacrifice every last bit of who you are. But I digress. Anyway, somehow, with no purposeful arranging, he ended up on the far end of the picture, so later on when we had to lop him off the photo prints, he was in the ideal spot. After the careful surgeries on the photos, there I was, standing on the end, with a mysterious sweater-clad severed arm resting across my shoulders. With no connecting body.
Imagine my happiness when the real love of my life landed smack dab in the middle of the picture last year. And this year. He is not loppable. I will have him and his arm with me forever.
After the 8 days of travel, we settled into my house for 2 days of solitude, which included watching his new DVDs of the first season of "Jonny Quest." It is important not to tax your mind in the newborn hours of a fresh year.
Rest. Recover. Regroup.