Being that I am a only child from a divorced family, I often split time between families over the holidays. (That is unless I'm boycotting the holidaze and go see no one!)
Part 1, section A involved Christmas with Tracey and Sharon on a hectic, rainy Friday afternoon. Each respective unit was feverishly packing, running errands and planning our departure time for our Interstate drives. Initially we both were going to leave Friday afternoon, but as the day went on it became apparent a Saturday Morning departure was in our futures. We shared loving, thoughtful gifts. As some of you know already, I got a crock pot from Debra and Sofie for Christmas(per my request!) Sharon and Tracey must have known this, for present #1 was 101 Thing To Do With A Slow Cooker. The second part was the creme on the pot...they got all the dry ingredients for THREE of the recipes in the book! Sharon figured that if I had the ingredients, I'd have to use the crock pot. She was right, I used them Monday for a potluck I attended.(More on that in a later entry) Sharon, being the good friend that she is, also bought a cribbage board for me...unfortunately, being the absent-minded friend I am, I forgot to tell her I bought one already!
Part 1, section B involves spending time with my mom, a cousin, Maw Maw Lamkin(that's Grandma for the Southern challenged) and a slew of Aunt's(again, "ant", not "ahnt"!!) Also an impromptu stop by the daughter of a childhood friend of my mom's.
I awoke early on Saturday, began doing chores, packing up the car and heading South for Charlotte. I planned to stop at the Pilot Truck Stop/Gas Station on exit 152 on I85/I40. (This is where my dad's job has him bringing gas/fuel from Greensboro to this gas station ONLY about 4 times a day.) I knew Saturday morning was one of his days on, so I stopped, called him and found out he was 20 minutes away. I decided that even though it might put a crimp in my day with Mom, I'd stay and have breakfast with my Daddy. Boy, was he a big spender( we joked about this all weekend, so this not a dig at my dad by any means!!) I got free coffee, since he works for the company and we shared a 2 for $2 at the attached McDonald's. So he laid down a whopping &1.07 on his only child! And I love him for it. We chatted, caught up a bit. He rubbed my bald head and said the pictures didn't do it justice and that I look much better in person. His way of a compliment. I felt the time crunch approaching, hugged him and bid adieu.
I was on the road to my mom's house and my cell rings, "Where are you?!? It's 10:30!!" "Uh, on your road, turning into your driveway in moments" I guess my mom had reason since I told her I'd leave Durham at 6a...which I didn't do. Then I was waylaid at exit 152!! I arrived and within 20 minutes my cousin stopped by. We visited. She said she preferred the hat to my bald head. Uh, not your head, not your life and you try wearing a hat 24/7 and see how you like it!! But I digress. After her departure we headed over to Maw Maw Lamkin's house(yes, this the mother of my father who is no longer married to my mother. Trust me, this only gets better in my next installment!!)
We arrive at Maw Maw's house and I immediately smell a fresh pot of her famous Russian Tea! (I had called her the day before requesting it...and the recipe.) I gave her a huge Jamie hug, where she comes to just below my armpit. She sent us to the living room so she could call my aunts to let them know I was there. 2 of the 4 of them showed up. One was in the middle of something and the other didn't come because we were stopping by her house after leaving Maw Maw's.
I admit, I don't visit my grandma often enough. I love her to bits and she's the only grandparent remaining...although I've only been down to 1 grandparent for 5 years. I feel grateful that I had Maw Maw Bess live to 99 and Paw Paw Lamkin live to 83. (If you look at my bald photos, you can see what my Paw Paw looked like...there's a lot of him in me...at least being bald!) I'm going to try to visit her more often this year. I want Sofie to know and remember her, so it's important that she be around her more often.
After visiting with Maw Maw and my aunt's Kathy and Julia, Mom and I headed over to my most favorite aunt's house...Linda. Linda is a free spirit. She and I come from the same family and both created our own set of beliefs that were beyond the families. We listen to NPR, can chat about crystals and healing and other sorts of things I can't imagine talking about with most of my family. She recently moved back from CO, after being gone for at least 25-30 years. She bought a cute mill house in Cramerton(a little mill village in Gaston County) and has proceeded to gut it. When she finishes, it will be an incredibly cute house...and just what she needs!
While visiting her, we discussed planning a family reunion for the summer. Maw Maw's brother and sister-in-law live in Hayesville, NC and that's the area my dad was born and my grandparents were raised. My people are there in the beautiful mountains. Again, I'd like Sofie to meet them before they die and I'd love to see everyone in the same place, that's neutral and won't cause strife for any family drama! I'll do part of the planning, planting the seed and see how it blooms.
After leaving Linda's and heading back to Charlotte, we drove by the house of the daughter of one of my mom's best childhood friends. They lost the Husband/Dad a few days after Christmas last year to Prostate Cancer. They were out raking leaves, spending time together and really just taking it one day at a time until the Anniversary. Missy, the daughter, was very close to her dad...much like me. She's a lesbian, like me, too. Unlike me, her dad didn't speak to her for a while after she came out. That's always sad to me. I'm glad it all worked out and their relationship became what it was before the coming out. I'm glad we stopped by. It was great to see them and send them loving energy to have a better year.
Back to mom's we head for a wonderful home cooked meal and an afternoon/evening of watching cheesy Christmas movies on Lifetime. I went to bed on the early side, slept fairly well, until the heat came on and baked me out of the bed. Got up, had breakfast and headed to Christmas, Part 2 as my mom and her husband headed off to Christmas Eve service at her church.