Tuesday, December 16, 2008
So Much to Write
Well now, there is so much to write about my trip to Texas.
There were innumerable inconveniences. My plane out was delayed for 3 hours. Every 10 minutes we were told by Continental that it would be 10 more minutes so we really didn't have a good chance to plan. They said it was a baggage handler cart that ran into the plane, leaving a dent, and they kept trying to fix it. Many other people were inconvenienced tremendously because they had connecting flights. I walked around the area in circles, met many nice people, and got almost all of my 10,000 steps in; I keep a pedometer and walk daily.
We got a dirty smoky rental car, then (were upgraded for free) to a rental car with an empty gas tank (we'd paid for gas). We at last got a good rental car. It was way nicer than the one we paid for and was safer on the fast highways---a Mercury Mountaineer. Leather seats and with gas at $1.35/gallon we didn't mind the lower fuel efficiency in exchange for safety.
I saw the Cotton Patch, Rick, in Lufkin, but didn't get a chance to stop...we were racing to get to my stepdaughter's who had dinner waiting. We left Olympia, WA at 5:20 am and got to Nacodoches, TX at 10 pm at night.
As for the food we ate, they had tea (Lipton only), coffee (JUST coffee, not lattes, or different types), white bread, iceberg lettuce, and was absent any taste not provided by MSG. So I had migraines both nights. I ate as little of it as possible, having brought raw protein bars and other yummy foods. The times I did eat, I did it consciously out of hospitality---my stepdaughter cooked for us for the first time!
Now, here's the exciting part. LoveHubbie's ex-wife has had an adversarial relationship with us for over a decade. It has caused many problems for LoveHubbie's children and of course, for us. Let's call her KFC. Two years ago KFC married a guy who we'll call Ron. We'd never met Ron. The last time we saw KFC was at the kids' high school graduation four years ago when she pretended that LoveHubbie was deceased and didn't announce him as a parent during the small graduation program we were invited to. So we didn't know what to expect at this graduation.
Well, we met KFC & Ron, and they were kind, loving, and gracious. Ron stepped up and broke the ice, introducing himself and setting the tone of the party we'd all attended, and KFC followed. We spent most of the time talking to Ron & KFC and KFC's parents (LoveHubbie's ex in-laws). They too were delightful. It was a 180 degree turn around. They could have been just polite. But they extended themselves beyond that to warmth and welcoming. I don't think that the kids (all adults now) expected it or knew what to do or say. We yakked it up for about an hour and a half. As though nothing had ever happened.
Best of all, KFC & Ron are very, very happy. He obviously loves her, treats her like a queen, loves her kids, and is someone with fine character. He is attentive and kind. She seemed incredibly happy. She has the life she always wanted. I felt so much joy for her. I've always thought---knew---I'd be jealous if I saw her happy because I didn't feel she deserved it after causing us and her children so much pain, but I didn't. I just felt profound relief and healing. I couldn't stop crying, but because I was so happy. I felt overjoyed for the kids. I was thrilled for LoveHubbie as well because much of the time these last ten years I have tried to protect him from things she would do. I could tell that this was finally over, that she had moved on. Way on.
I acknowledged her for what she had done. I told her that our religion (hers and mine) was about love and forgiveness and that I appreciated her being so gracious because the kids would be the beneficiaries. I told her how much I appreciated it personally as well. I also told each of the kids that I appreciated their mother for her kindness and courage and grace. Still couldn't stop bawling.
Before this (as in any time before Saturday) I would have told you I almost hated KFC. I wouldn't have been upset if I'd heard she died in an accident. All of that changed, and I'm not sure how. I just know it did and I am so very happy. For her, for us, for the kids. I feel like now I can look forward to the future of weddings, funerals, and grandchildren without dread.
We didn't just chat a bit or make nice. We all talked and talked as though we were close friends. As though we were family.
There were stressors throughout the trip, including other family members who were negative. I continued to encourage people with my mantra about going with the flow, doing what we could, seeing the positive in what was happening, being grateful, being present. This was good for me because it allowed me to not forget what I was there to do.
In particular I also felt very close to my youngest stepson who has always clashed with me in personality and values. After sharing with him my gratitude towards his mother (all while continuing to bawl), I felt a definite shift in our relationship. I feel like things are fine between us and also that he feels more positively about his father.
This trip was good for all of us.
As if that were not miracle enough, Saturday night I fell with my entire 207.5 pounds landing smack on my left knee on the flagstone tile bathroom floor. LoveHubbie heard the sound from the room and was sure it was broken. It hurt and swelled and bruised, but it was not broken! And I could still walk, although with pain.
Then coming home I had someone, a gate agent at Continental make fun of me. I was having a good deal of trouble walking by then (should have gotten a wheelchair) and I needed an aisle seat. The gate agent was brusque to me, which was understandable since we were very busy, the plane was full, and it is the holiday season. But then he wouldn't give me my boarding pass back during the boarding for "people needing assistance". I just waited and hoped something would work out. About halfway through the boarding process (when it would be really hard for me to get on and not slow people down) he looked right at me, then walked in the opposite direction, found LoveHubbie way off to the side and in the back of the crowd and handed the boarding passes to him. Then he came back to the gate ticket counter and made a face and rolled his eyes at me.
Of course there were a million ways to take this. Instead of taking it in any normal, healthy way, I just burst into tears. I shuffled onto the plane crying. I was in a lot of pain, moving slowly down the aisle, moving my heavy bag from seat to seat, holding everyone behind me up. I had been dealing with some stressors just before we got to the gate and was tired too, and I kind of fell apart. I just couldn't stop the tears. Well, it ended up that the lady seated in front of me in the plane turned around and asked, "Can I help you? I'm a therapist." We talked for about ten minutes and I felt A.O.K. I had just gotten off course. I thanked her profusely. The whole trip was like that---one miracle after another.
So the travel inconveniences---they were fine because I had zero responsibilities but to do what I could and then wait and let life happen around me. The Texas food---thank goodness for migraine medicine and packed tasty morsels! KFC & Ron are family now, as are KFC's parents. And I feel very loving towards my youngest stepson, who I am convinced also changed his attitude towards me and LoveHubbie as well. Instead of being a family at war, for the first time the kids have all four of their parents and their grandparents able to interact, socialize, and plan things together---even to share time with them!
I am glad I took the risk to go. I felt like I was in Life School 400 (graduate school) and I learned so much.
I will tell you more about my homecoming as well as post pictures in later posts.
Peace and thank you for the welcome and kind words in your comments on my last post,
~Photo from Vanessa F. via CuteOverload