This little cabin was home for the week.
We've been away on holidays. For the first time ever, we went to Family Camp with almost everyone in Gordon's extended family. Gordon and the girls had a fabulous time; definitely a highlight of the year for them. I crashed and burned and am quite embarrassed by the whole week.
I pride myself on being laid-back, easy going, well-adjusted, fun-loving, and a myriad of other positive things. :-) These characteristics cease and desist when I get around my in-laws. All my benevolence and patience and open-mindedness and well-adjustedness seizes up and dies, usually in an emotionally laden, fetal-positioned wailing-and-gnashing-of-teeth sort of way. Not a pretty picture. It's probably the single biggest flaw in my character and person-hood. I hate this about me.
Before the holiday I tried valiantly to prepare and equip myself to "be in the now". I had a plan and some ideas for how I was going to be grown-up and good. I self-imploded and never figured out how to "be in the now" in any way that was helpful. When I tried to focus and regain composure by "accepting this moment" all I could think was, but it hurts too badly. That to say, my experimentation with pop psychology was unsuccessful.
Gordon is a wonderful husband and our relationship is warm, stable and loving. These good feelings we share degenerate when we are with his family. However, only very recently did I realized that the problem is in my relationship with Gordon, not his entire family. I'm not suggesting my negative history with the family is imagined. It is not. However, it's my marriage that is the "issue", not my in-laws. Here's what I've only recently come to realize: Mine and Gordon's relationship shifts dramatically when we're with his family. He changes, gets free-er. I change, get more up-tight. I clam up; he airs. I erect walls; he relinquishes all barriers. I tense up, ridiculously so. He becomes an open book revealing anything that comes to mind. Basically, I don't like him when he's around his family. That's not very good, eh?
I don't really know what to tell you about our holiday. I usually show lots of pictures and tell some highlights. I don't have any to tell this year. It was all pretty traumatic. Again, my family had a GREAT time, but I couldn't even enjoy their having a good time because I was so wrapped up in my own bad experience. I reiterate that I truly hate this about myself.
Day 1 was good. Gordon and I went on a 40 kilometer (24 miles) bike ride and I enjoyed that very much. I took pictures and loved the country scenery.
Day 2 Gordon and I started going cross-eyed with miscommunication. By mid-afternoon I drove 30 minutes to the nearest city to "get away." I went to Chapters and bought a Christmas gift, visited my favorite thrift store, went out to eat, and then took in a movie (The Proposal). It would have been a lovely outing had my thoughts not been churning with negativity.
Day 3 I had to leave and come home before I completely lost my mind. I felt like an idiot for not being able to enter into the "good time" everyone else was having, but knew I had to get out of there just to regain some emotional stability. I was smiling again before I got off the camp property. I felt hope.
It was on the drive home as I prayed and tried to figure out what had gone so sideways that I was able to articulate that this pattern in my life is a blemish on my marriage, not so much a blemish on my in-laws. That was the epiphany of the experience. Any epiphany at that point was a relief, even if it was hard realizing how it's me that's the problem (with some help from my beloved) and not someone "out there". The problem is me (and Gordon). I admit it.
So that was my summer vacation. The absolute worst I've ever had and hope to ever have. I'm happy for Gordon and the girls to do it every year, but I probably will only drop in a few times instead of committing to the whole week. That seems like a fair compromise to me.
I hope you're all having a wonderful summer. I truly (aside from last week) have loved it. Only four more weeks till the kids head back to school. That kind of makes me sad as there are still so many summer things we want to squeeze in.