Vacationing in Pennsylvania means visiting family! Specifically, The In-Laws.
Staying with tradition I cut my hair before we left Kansas City. The tradition started the first time my wife and I visited her family on their turf. I met them when they came here to Kansas when Minnie and I got married. My hair was long and my wife’s hair was short! My wife’s family are fundamental Independent Baptists and they did not like my long hair! So I cut it all off when I went to Bethlehem, PA for the first time. And this trip was no exception…I was WAAAY over due for a whacking anyway!
Breaking with tradition we stayed with Minnie’s sister Tammie instead of Minnie’s parents…Tammie, what to say about her? Well, I love
r her. She is strong-willed and stubborn. She rebels against her mom and dad while ending up just like them! She works too much-work has become her identity and I fear that one day all the lack of sleep and stress will take its toll on her. I hope not. She’s wounded and she is struggling to live a healthy life, but then again so are most of us. We butt heads most of the time, but what I really want to show her or prove to her or persuade her of is that there is a whole world out there that is better than the one she places herself in, the one she hates and tolerates and escapes from and martyrs through. It isn’t MY world, but it is different and one that I have found by grace. But just the fact that I want it for her usually is the reason she won’t attempt it. Although she did say that if she could find 1 job that paid the same as her current 2 jobs that she’d consider moving out here! Hey, that is something!
Minnie’s parents are in a new house! It is away from their previous book-cased, row home, house and it actually has a yard! And a car port! And flowers and trees! And none of it is shared with the neighbors! SWEET!
Minnie’s aunts, Darene and Fran, haven’t changed much. They still live together in the same house with their dogs. A couple of new dogs and a couple less than before. They show their love by giving us all kinds of gifts that they have gotten over the years…backpacks and games and toys for the boys. An expensive telescope that we strapped to the roof to transport back to KC. Other nick knacks. And then the stuff that we just couldn’t fit and had to leave behind, exercise equipment and all kinds of really cool stuff.
The rest of her family offered things to take as well, food, a weed whacker, blankets and more exercise stuff…drinks and candy and…well, gifts that they lovingly lavish on Minnie and her family.
They all bide for Minnie’s time and attention. Tammie “won” the most by hosting us! And she was an awesome host and we felt very comfortable and taken care of! Tammie also traveled with us on much of our vacation. We had a great time visiting with her. Minnie has grown very close to her sister over the past years and Tammie loved getting to know the boys more. Minnie’s parents won a little bit by offering meals and a new house to visit and check out (new neighbors and a new yard and a new garage and a new basement), but I know her dad wanted to spend more time with Minnie-even though he got to hang out with us a the Knobels theme park, I am sure he would have liked to spend more time with just Minnie without everyone else. Minnie’s aunts won a little by offering stuff! They buy all of this stuff for us but we have to personally pick it up! They took us all to lunch one day-that was very nice. I think all of the children are a little overwhelming for them-the kids are messy and loud and Darene and Fran are quiet and have their routines.
Minnie is the prodigal daughter, the one that returns home every so often-not often enough. The one that made it out. The one that lives too darn far away! The one that married. The one that didn’t stay home. The one that went off and started her own family far away from the East. Just about the only one in her immediate family who is not bound to the rest of the family by physical location and emotion. That is a blessing and a curse, good and bad.
There is always running around trying to visit everyone and worrying about “equal time” and such is true on any family trip-Mine when I go back home to Iowa and Minnie’s as we traveled through Pennsylvania.
We got to see Minnie’s ailing grandparents. They seem to be doing well. We got to see Minnie’s best friend Kenda and her family-well most of her family. And we got to visit Minnie’s cousin Melanie and her husband in Ocean City, MD.
I love Minnie’s family, my family. And I love that they love Minnie and the rest of us.