wanting what you've got

Matt and Joanna left yesterday and I must admit that their trip was not the absolute pain in the ass disaster that was Thanksgiving. Actually, something broke in me while at Me-Ma's; some kind of resistance to their pairing, I suppose. I think it came from Matt talking about his time with her family, how her father gave Matt a very nice and expensive Christmas present, how her family embraced him. Usually, it's easy to like my brother and as a perspective mate, I'd say he's a pretty good catch; he just bought a house and has a really good job. Matt genuinely likes most of Joanna's family and I could tell that there was this kind of ease and comfort between them. At Me-Ma's, I could feel tension and concern from Joanna as people asked her more and more ridiculous questions. Me-Ma was particularly callous and implicit in all of her questions was "what kind of family are you from?" AHH yes, we cannot escape class. Of course Joanna is from the upper middle class and her father owns his own business. But still, I bristled at the interrogation.

I thought about how often I compare my family to Michelle's. How warm and lovely her mom and Carl have been to me and to my parents. And I realized that from the outside we must seem strange and cold. Heck, it feels that way from the inside too, at times. Michelle's been in Bloomington almost the whole time I've been gone. She made chocolate covered pretzels and other Christmas treats. My family doesn't do stuff like that. And I can see why she missed her family traditions when she is Birmingham for Thanksgiving. As I read about people's holidays, I begin to see how easily the traditions of my childhood have fallen away and nothing has replaced them. It seems that since the ceiling caved in, my mom has sunk a bit into her depression and is going through a really rough time. My father just escapes into his head. This doesn't leave much space for frivolity, which as a child was what the holidays were all about.

So some resistance broke in me and I was nice, genuinely nice to Joanna. It might have helped that we were not in a place she felt comfortable. Whatever it was, I did not have a problem with her. I came to her defense when Me-Ma started grilling her about graphic design because I know what it feels like to have someone ask, "What are you going to do with that?" Isn't it funny how studying something does not have any value outside of a job, or what we're doing with it?

I think I was a much happier person to be around the past few days though I have missed Illinois immensely. And it's a good feeling to miss my life, my love. Because it means I have something to go back to. Not that I needed reasons or evidence that I have built a life with Michelle or am starting to, anyway. But it's nice to be reminded.

I leave here in a few hours but have a long layover in Atlanta so I won't be back in Bloomington until around 10 p.m. It will be a long day for sure. But I have some movies and TV shows on my Ipod and I can always grab some airport food. I'd rather have a bit of time than rush around. And I guess that's what this trip has been for me, a way to see I need to take more time to appreciate my life. And the people I share it with.