This year, for the first time, I traveled by airplane during Christmas. When I booked my ticket weeks ago, I remember thinking “Hmm, I wonder how crazy it will be?” But by the time I bought all my presents, crammed them and a week’s worth of stuff into a suitcase, tidied up at work and home for being away (forgot to water the plants), dropped the pups at boarding and flung myself into the car and down the highway towards Albuquerque at 3:30 in the morning, I was not really thinking at all. And oh, was it crazy! Long lines in Albuquerque made me literally the last one to board the plane, after sprinting in heels (bad choice) to the gate. I’ve cut it close before, but I totally won that contest this time.
But! It was completely worth it to see Travis and meet his family in New York and Connecticut. Before I left, when I told people I was meeting the boyfriend’s family for the first time, each and every person gave me the same pained, pitying grimace. It’s the stuff of holiday trauma-comedies, really. But I can happily and genuinely tell you: it was so fun! I’m sure I avoided a lot of the usual holiday stress because I was a “guest” and not hosting. Also, in T’s family, I’m not the oldest sibling or cousin, but more towards the younger side – which was a very nice spot to be in, for a change!
Highlights for me were:
- talking about cooking, murder mysteries, and interior design with T’s mom
- looking through Travis’s baby pictures
- hearing stories of all the boys (7 boy cousins in total) romping through the New England wilderness
- seeing Rocky-the-usually-aloof-Beagle ecstatic about the 3 squeaker snake toy I brought him
- dancing with the little kids on Christmas Eve
- meeting T’s 99 year-old grandpa
- riding along on windy roads (with Dramamine doing its thing) through rolling farmland, rivers, and swamps
- grabbing a burger with my mom
- seeing a picture of my friend’s new baby, Emmett, born December 23
– and in general, doing a lot of eating, drinking, and laughing. Oh, and opening my new turntable on Christmas morning! A tremendous gift from Travis. I cannot wait to hear my Dolly Parton and Loretta albums again.
From top, left to right: Julia (Travis’s cousin’s daughter) and I (also featured in the dancing video); Trav as a toddler in front of his dad’s corvette; Me and Trav at Ommegang Brewery in New York; interior of T’s Grandpa’s study; little Emmett!; me and the girls requesting Taylor Swift; tree on family land where Trav and his cousin carved their initials in 1995.