Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

Cross-posted from Over A Candle.

Ronni and I hadn't been sure where we would spend Christmas this year. We toyed with the idea of staying home. In the end, we opted to visit my biological family in Missouri.

United Airlines, though, had other plans. Apparently, last week, Chicago had bad weather. Not bad enough to cancel flights, but enough to delay flights. We got delayed in Fargo, but our connecting flight was also delayed, so we thought we were okay. We finally got to Chicago, and waited around for our flight to Springfield. At the last minute, I got a call from United cancelling our flight and rebooking us on a later one.

So we trekked back across O'Hare to the new flight. Upon arrival, we found that the gate agent was at lunch. So we waited in line for half an hour. When she finally arrived, she informed us that we had been rebooked. For the next evening. I have never liked O'Hare, and I certainly didn't want to spend more than 24 hours in the place. So I asked if other airlines were flying to Springfield. Only American had another flight.

After lots of phone calls and being placed on hold, we managed to get a flight on American that would get us to Springfield before midnight. The gate agent told us that we couldn't retrieve our luggage, but that it would be going on the next flight to Springfield, arriving shortly before we would.

Further delays put us in Springfield after midnight on Wednesday morning. Sure enough, our luggage was nowhere to be found. The first flight on Thursday, we were assured. You can guess that it didn't happen. My luggage arrived at the end of the day on Wednesday, and Ronni's came in Thursday morning.

All of this confirms my initial opinion: I hate Chicago. If I never fly through O'Hare again, it will be too soon. I don't know why I thought this would be any different than every other time I've tried to fly through Chicago.

Still, upon arrival in Springfield, we had a very nice time. I didn't care about the luggage thing. I was just enjoying our visit. It was crazy and chaotic, and simply fun.

I woke up early Christmas morning, and sat with my brother Rick watching the tree while our mother slept on the couch. She eventually woke and we all sat talking quietly in the glow of the Christmas lights.

The Tree

The stockings had been hung. Not by a chimney, but with much care. And one for everyone who was going to be there.

The Stockings

Soon people were up, and we chatted while waiting for Santa to pass out gifts. Ronni, Audra (Ben's wife), and my brother Chris had the arm chairs.

Waiting for Santa

Rick, his girlfriend Katy, and my brother Ben were on the couch.

Waiting for Santa, part 2

Other people were wandering about, in the kitchen, sitting at the table, or just grabbing seats where they could.

Gifts were opened, and Rick had given mom a wonderfully soft dragon blanket.

Mom's dragon blanket

Of course, the star of the day, mom's new cat Pepper, had his own version of Christmas.

Pepper's present

Naturally, no get together would be complete if Ben and I weren't hamming it up together.


Needless to say - but I'll say it anyway - a good time was had by all.

The next day, very early, we were up and flying back to Chicago on our way home to Fargo. Thankfully, Chicago seems to only take it out on me during one direction of my flights. Going home was smooth, and even our luggage arrived on time.

I missed my family in Ohio this Christmas, but we had a lovely trip to Missouri.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I am sorry for the long absence here. My life imploded in many unusual and nasty ways in the last five months. Things are getting better, slowly, and I won't go into all the details here, but they are getting better.

Earlier today, something kind of funny and cool happened, and I wanted to share it. This is the only place I really can safely share it at the moment, so I figured it was time for a post.

I am visiting my biological mom this Christmas. Despite Chicago's best efforts to prevent us, we got here very late on Tuesday night. Our luggage arrived, in stages over the last 26 hours. But we're here, and it is good. Actually, it is great. This is the least stressful Christmas I think I've ever had. It is affirming in ways that are hard to describe.

This morning, that validation took a very concrete form. My mom told one of my brothers that I had brought presents for people. His response, as she reported it later to me, was something along the lines of: "Even grandma? What do you give the bitch that made your mom give you up for adoption?"

My jaw about hit the floor. My mom thought it appropriate to share with me, my brother had the insight to see the issue, and I felt surrounded by people who had some small insight into everything I had gone through. It was amazing. And has provided me a source of chuckling ever since.

I'm the first to recognize that my mom's mom isn't really there anymore, so it's hard to be mad at her. The person who had a role in my adoption has been gone since before I met her. And I don't harbor a lot of resentment now. Still, it meant a lot to me that he would say that, that he would have some inkling of the emotional quagmire that this is.

Even before my mom told me, this has been a wonderful visit so far. That just pushed it over the top. I feel really lucky this holiday season.