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Two weeks before Thanksgiving, we found out that my last living grandmother, who's responsible for a lot of my upbringing, only has about six weeks to live. My wife and I had been planning to spend Thanksgiving with her mom and brother, but as soon as I heard the news, I knew that I needed to be there for what could very well be our last holiday celebration with her. I reminded her that her brother and mom were invited, but suspected pretty much immediately that they would decline. K told me she understood my reasoning, but that she felt I was being selfish, and that my timing was really inconsiderate. And then spent the next five days not talking to me- during which time I slept in the guest bedroom.

I spent last weekend in Charlotte helping my parents move into a new house and get my grandmother settled with them. I told them the reason that once again their daughter in law hadn't come with was because she was working so many hours. Not totally false, but not totally true. A lot easier than saying, "my wife doesn't really like a lot of the family, despises our hometown, and dreads having to spend time with both to the point of driving herself to the verge of anxiety attacks any time I suggest coming to visit."

When I got back Sunday night, she finally acknowledged I was back, and we finally talked a little bit, and she explained to me why she had been so unhappy with me. Even though I still don't understand exactly why she was fighting about it, I didn't want to really keep the fight going. Finally, at one point, she turned to me as we were laying in bed.

"Do you think we should talk about setting a deadline, and if things aren't going better, look into annulments?"

My immediate response was "no!" In my mind, as soon as we started talking about deadlines, we were admitting defeat, and that there really might not be anything worth saving or fixing.

The rest of the week was fairly quiet, we talked a bit more than we had in several weeks, and I left for Charlotte after work on Wednesday. K would be celebrating Thanksgiving with her mom and brother at her brother's house in Apex, and was planning on joining me in Charlotte later in the weekend, probably Friday, to spend some time with my family.

Wednesday was spent moving as much as possible from the rental house to the one my parents had bought farther south, making sure my grandmother was comfortable, and catching up with all my family that had come in town from all over. My youngest brother was in town from New York with his girlfriend, my sister was hanging out but her boyfriend was in school in Maine, and my next brother was going to be bringing his girlfriend- so adding in everybody else, I was pretty much the only person there going stag. Fun.

Thanksgiving was wonderful. We kids did the vast majority of the prep and cooking, while my mom barked orders and directed everybody not cooking to set up tables and chairs. My grandmother was doted on by family and friends who'd been with us for decades, and remarked over and over about what a great time she was having. Still sharp as a tack- I hope I'm still that way at 82 years old. Twenty friends, family, and guests sat down together Thursday, and everybody thoroughly enjoyed themselves, the food, and the company. I was reminded once again of how much I'd been missing being around my family all the years I was on the west coast, and even those times I hadn't been able to meet up even when I was back in North Carolina.

The rest of the evening was spent catching up, watching football and movies, and talking with the family before we all called it a night. My mom had set it up so that K and I could stay at the now empty rental house knowing that my wife the introvert would appreciate the space to herself after interacting with all my loud, crazy family. Later in the evening, I texted K to ask what time she was planning on being in Charlotte, and if she was planning on bringing the dog.

"...would you hate me if I stay up here?"

"No. But I'd miss you."

And once again, I'll be explaining why my wife is dipping out on doing stuff with my family. And to my grandmother that she won't be seeing her again, like the last two weekends I'd been in town. And seriously wondering if she'll be seeing my grandmother again before she passes. At this point, I don't know.

Friday my brothers went and played golf with my uncles, while I got stuff done around the new house, hauled more stuff from the old house, and caught up with my parents. I'd forgotten how much I'd missed weekend mornings and conversations over coffee. That night, I took all my siblings, and several old friends, out to play laser tag, and all parties involved definitely had a blast. Back when I was in high school, that had been one of our go-to activities, and the venue we'd gone to had closed down many, many years ago. Imagine my surprise when I saw signs for a new Laser Quest going into a shopping center right around the corner from where we'd grown up. I honestly wonder if K would have partaken with us if she'd been in town, and if she'd have had fun if she had. I feel like once upon a time she would have enjoyed it, but nowadays, I just don't know any more.

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Tiger In A Cage

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