I feel exhausted from the past few days. It was less than 4 full days, not even 3 really, but they were days filled with emotional highs and lows, laughter and frustration, moments of pride and self-assurance followed immediately by feelings of disappointment and self-doubt.
That's what a long weekend with the family does to a girl.
I just got back from Montreal, where we had a party for my grandmother's 90th birthday. It was wonderful to see my grandma so happy, surrounded by her friends and family. She really had a great time, and I'm so glad to have been a part of it. Ninety. Wow. That's pretty impresive and she really doesn't seem that old. We also spent a fun night visiting with my dad's old school friend and his family, whose kids are our age but whom we haven't seen in over 15 years. I talked with one of the boys about traveling, comparing stories and reminiscing about places we'd both been (I'd been to more, neener neener, I win). Good time.
Then there was the flip side. The stream of old people (some I remembered, some were strangers) barraging me with questions about what I was doing with my life. I was ready for this, my siblings and I had actually done some role play in advance, to prepare ourselves.
Old person: "What do you do?"
Me: "I've be traveling for a few years, but I moved back to Winnipeg a year ago" (clever evasion of actual question)
Oldie: "Oh, that's nice! What did you do when traveling?"
Me: "I was teaching in China"
Oldie: "So you're a teacher"
Me: "....No. Not here"
Oldie: "Oh. So what do you do now? What did you specialize in?"
I proceed to mutter something about my education, past and current jobs, trying to make them sound more interesting than they are. Oldie isn't fooled and decides to change the subject to something to which I may have had more success.
"Are you married?"
Sigh... strike two. I share the devasting news (judging by the concerned look I'm getting) that not only am I unmarried, but I am currently single.
Oldie: "How old are you?"
Me: "I'll be 30 in a couple of months" (bracing myself for the earth to crack open and swallow me whole, wails of torment ushering me down to the hell that awaits single 30 years olds with no careers)
Oldie: "Oh, just a spring chicken!"
I smile, relieved. Then I have the pleasure of answering questions about my siblings and their unmarried status and unfulfilling jobs.
Aside from the various interrogations, there is also the issue of my aunt. I feel bad that I don't like her, because she's mentally ill. But I don't. She isn't nice. And she clearly dislikes me, for reasons I'm not clear on. But all she does is glare at me. I smiled at her across the table when I first saw her and she shot daggers back. Then there was the wonderful comments she made over breakfast. "Jennie, you've always been my favourite. And David, you'll always have a special place in my heart." That covers two of the three of us... now wait for it.....here it comes... evil glare for me. Nice.
So there you have it. Not the easiest of holidays, but they never are with my family. But us kids (29 and under) always make our own fun. Overall, I'd have to say it was a nice trip, punctuated with moments of stress, discomfort, agitation and head-banging-on-table exasperation. Typical quality family time.