... have a difficult relationship with my parents.
Among many of my friends, this makes me a bit of an oddball. My friends surround themselves with "chosen family" and I'm so glad they can and that they and we have those bonds. It seems to surprise people, however, that planned visits to my family aren't stressors (other than the hazards of travel itself). Oh, we can get in some spats all right, and my sister and I have a much better relationship by phone than in person, where facial expressions can push buttons. But my parents?
We play card games where we make up the rules.
My mother sometimes tells me to "shush" because a quick glance between us can speak volumes.
My father and I trade barbs with aim and yet no malice.
a lifetime of stories and inside jokes.
I started this month of gratitude with a visit from my parents, but I don't think it's cheating to say it again, that I'm so thankful to have the relationship with them that I do. They've had enough very serious health issues in the last few years that I am repeatedly grateful to have these visits, where there's still joy and ease and traditions and teasing. I know that some day, my return to this house will be for sad reasons.
but not this one. and I'll take every minute of it.