Did Thanksgiving with Moe's fambly. Big time. Got called Tim once, which is odd, given her voluminous clan's familiarity with the name Jim.
All around good time, with the biggest downer coming on our final morning there. I had wandered outside to pair my coffee with a cigarette. Just sort of looking around at the fantastic emptiness of their corner of Tyndall, warm with a sort of familial connectivity that was entirely new to me.
And then I got whomped with guilt for abandoning my own family for someone else's and for feeling so damn good about. But in that guilt was something I'd almost forgotten how to feel.
I missed MY parents.
So many trips back home have been borne more out of a tedious sense of duty than out of actual desire. I always drove slowly there and quickly back.
I'll be leaving for Redfield Christmas morning and coming back the following Monday. This has been the plan for a week or so, but prior to that brisk morning moment, I'd been looking at that trip with something between dread and resignation.
In college, my cronies (can't remember whether it was Blais or Doschadis) called me "remote."
I think, overall, that was the best term for me. My dad was always a bit remote. Austin's dad called him an odd duck.
Anyhow, Dad's remote. Not a condemnation by any means. Just a descriptor. He's always been self-contained and compartmentalized. Imagine a brain as a fishing tackle box, organized by weights, lures, hooks, and tools, all for specific tasks. That's my dad, J.F. II. Sure, every now and again, something would get thrown in the wrong compartment and my mother and I would be amazed by his fleeting openness, and it was as special as it was rare.
That was really my sole male role model growing up. These are thoughts for me, and these are for Dad, and these are for Mom, and these are for my friends, and this one here's for a girl, if I could ever figure out how to talk to them.
With years of experience with Dad, Mom was equipped to deal with me taking on these traits, but she had an inside edge too. I always took after her more, although they were both perplexed at how someone so bookish could care so little for school, but that's an entirely different can of worms.
I got most of my artistic inclinations from Ma, and she provided me with the technological fixes I find myself drawn to to this very moment. She approaches much of the world as relativistically and contextually as I do. Unsurprisingly, when I call home, she's the designated communicator. We email periodically.
In short, my relationship with my parents has been warm, but I wouldn't call it close.
Well, it's coming sort of full circle these days. Over the last four years or so, I've been trying to shed my remote label. Open up more. Be more genuinely human and less the Celebrated Artifice of Jim.
Sure, it's been bumpy, but that's to be expected. I've managed to pull enough trays out of the tackle box that plenty is mingling and that's good, but some things are surprising me. When I'm happy, I'm happier. That's cool.
Conversely, the lowest I was normally capable of feeling was more an absence of happy than unhappy, but now I am oddly capable of sadness. Disappointment is fleeting. Sadness can stick with you. Also, I am now more familiar with obsession, jealousy and a whole raft of Pandora's hooligans I'd kept locked up in the Spock box.
Two mornings ago, I was happy, then sad. But happy again, genuinely glad, knowing that I was going to be going home.