Holidays are always weird to me. It seems lonely if I'm not with my family (more than just K) and generally stressful if I am. This one was different. Maybe because my immediate family was all sick with a nasty cold so they spent most of the time sleeping and much less time being annoyed with one another, maybe because my nephew is the most adorable baby ever so everyone was focused on him, maybe we just finally hit the right alignment of the stars and planets, I don't know. It was odd to have a real holiday without K, who worked 120+ hours last week, it has been years since I've done it.
It was great to see the PA relatives since it has been at least 4 years since I made it back there. My cousins are now seniors in high school, driving themselves, and much more social than before - although it would be challenging to be less social with relatives than 14 year old boys. It was nice to be able to talk with them and start to get to know them as adults, they seem like very nice young men with great things ahead of them.
Seeing my grandmother in the nursing home was harder than I expected even though she was in about the condition I anticipated. It is always the little details - the incontinence pads on the bed, the need for assistance with everything - that make real what her daily life is like and how frustrated she is with not being on her own. Also interesting to see the shift in the burden of care. My uncle who had lived with her previously seemed much happier and well rested, more like a man in his 40s than the man in his 60s he seemed before. My aunt who lives closest to her now seemed a bit strung out (although I'm sure all of us camping out at her house contributed to that) and acknowledged the burden of visiting every day, trying to stay on top of the staff, and the guilt of knowing her mother had to be there even though she didn't want to be. I have to say that the whole thing worries me a bit because I'm not sure how I'd hold up in a similar situation, so I'm just going to stay on top of the parents to take care of themselves so I can avoid the whole thing as long as possible.