yesterday, i drove up to york to celebrate with my dad and his side of the family. dad, my stepmom kimberly, my stepsister courtney, and my grandmother all gathered at my sisters house with kristin, her husband dan, and their sons tanner and kevin...
that part of the day was basically good (other than the hideously ugly "night light christmas tree" from kimberly to me) in that we got to spend some time together but hard in that grandma is not doing well, and we're all afraid this may be her last christmas with us - she has cancer, and can't swallow well enough to eat anything solid (she's been living on ensure for months now) - she looks so gaunt and thin, almost exactly like her mother (my great grandma who i also loved a lot) before she passed
grandma is giving away a lot of her jewelry and memorabilia - yesterday she handed kristin, courtney and i each large packages of heirloom jewelry... she gave me great grandma's wedding band and engagement ring (which i'll wear with pride even though i'm not a huge fan of diamonds) and kristin her wedding and engagement ring among the pieces - dad thinks this is a sign she's giving up; i'm not so sure about that as she said at a recent family gathering where some of my other great grandmother's jewelry was given away that she'd rather be around to see people enjoy her gifts
and then in conversation with dad about the extended family he mentioned that although i have funny hair and wear strange clothes he really liked the person i've grown into, and that i'm no longer the bad kid... this is a big deal to me - i've always been the black sheep of the family even though (and we're talking extened family - my great grandparents' grandkids and great grandkids) i'm the only one (with the exception of kristin and dad) who has a college degree and the only one who didn't either spend time in jail or have kids before marriage or both - and none of this is recent; it's been an ongoing pattern since i was a child... it always felt hypocritical to me that they thought i was uncontrollable because of the way i look, when i've always been hard working, intelligent, and respectul to my family (even when i don't much like them)
dinner at the country club wasn't as bad as usual - the group was smaller, other than my nephews it was only the adult extended family (hooray - no screaming brats), and no major scenes occurred - i even got to sit at the "adult" table (with great grandpa) for the first time ever
i wish he wasn't virtually deaf though - he's an amazing and intelligent man, but he doesn't read lips very well, and talking with him is nearly impossible - i miss the intelligent and lively debates that we used to have a few years ago, and while his mind is still sharp as a tack it seems like his deafness is increasingly isolating him
so... yesterday was good and bad - i'm finding it difficult to face the loss of grandma and great-grandpa but i'm glad that i was able to spend time with them during the holidays