We traveled to Brother's house - which is no longer the same house Mom and Dad had - for Christmas. Mom woke me early on Sunday, calling upstairs, leaving me to emit a groaning sigh and rearranging my pile of pillows so I could emerge from my nest.
We prayed as we drove south, asking for peace and joy despite the Ones' moods. Mom is getting better but remains wounded over her lack of contact with the girls. Their mother is hateful - not in all areas, but with regard to my family - and we have only to accept that, to love despite it (not her - the Ones - we'll work on our feelings toward her as I doubt God endorses the gleeful hate that enters my heart when she crosses my mind).
We arrived safe and sound, my smile easy and genuine as Smallest raced from the house to cuddle her grandma as soon as the driver's door opened.
"I had the cat on my lap!" Little explained her her rush to the car, trailing her younger sister with a giggle. Brother soon emerged and we formed a present-carrying train into the house, smiling over the giant teddy bears dressed in onesies and the felt Santa bags we've used since the girls were born and bags Mom found on clearance that we literally splitting at the seams.
We opened gifts. Made crafts. Cooked lunch. Watched movies (Loved Finding Dory - though I cried and cried over the paths of shells; Stork was fine. Secret Life of Pets was not my favorite.). Played games. It was pretty lovely.
Smallest and I shared Brother's bed with her giant brown bear. The white bear, Mom and Little slept in his only guest room while he took the couch with his faithful orange cat. We shopped yesterday - wandering the mall and catching Pokemon (!!) and buying more things we don't need. Lunch was followed by a re-loading of Mom's car to take the girls home and return north ourselves.
Chienne had opened her presents before we left - she wagged her tail and slowly nudged paper away from new squeakies. A wonderful neighbor checked in on her while we were away. Sprout batted at his new catnip banana and hid from said neighbor. Trust No One.
Today I return to work and the gym. I'm excited about neither but resolved to do both. But the alteration of my schedule was very worthwhile this time.