I got back to Victoria on Monday, after a week and a half that I can only describe as being bittersweet, after a week and a half during which time I constantly told people that I needed to "play things by ear." (Read: "I have decided not to make plans in advance, other than with my brother.") It's impossible to describe such a trip as being "good," when you consider the circumstances, but I was glad to be home, glad to be with my family, and glad to have the family that I have.
I spent a week sleeping in my childhood bedroom, which gave the week an extra surreal quality: I was sleeping there on my own (Chris having flown back after the weekend), in my room of twenty-three years. In that room, there were small remnants of my years there: the colour of the walls, one picture, one shelf, snowflake stickers on the window. However, everything else in the room was from my Grandmother's years there, and more so from my sister's current occupation of the room. It's like when the five of us (my parents, my two siblings and I) sat together in my parents' living room: it was familiar, and I could not escape all the evidence of what all has changed (and the reason why we were all together).
Now I'm back in Victoria, trying to adjust back to my routine here, but also very aware of the fact that we fly back to Regina in a week, with all of my missed work looming over me. And, in the midst of all of this, my birthday was yesterday. I'm thirty-one now; I feel like I just got used to being thirty. I really liked being thirty. "Thirty-one" sounds strange to me. And I usually make a big deal about my birthday; I invest a lot of emotion and expectations into the day. This year, I could only handle small things. Before I left Regina, I invited a couple friends and all their wee daughters over to my parents' house, to share ice cream cake with me. (Having four kids -- all of whom call me "Auntie" -- blow out my candles was fun.) Yesterday, I met two friends downtown in the afternoon; we had tea and went Christmas shopping at my favourite little stores. My all-time favourite storekeeper hugged me five times and gave me a birthday present. Then, my cousin Ky and I bussed to a restaurant, where we met Chris and a couple more friends for supper.
Hm. Now that I wrote that out, it sounds like I still made a big deal about my birthday. It was all thrown together at the last minute ("The only day that's available for shopping is Thursday. Oh, that's Maryanne's birthday? Let's go for tea!" "You know, your birthday is on Thursday. Shouldn't we at least go out for supper?") but I loved it more that way. I've done the big-party thing, and that was a nice thing for other years.
So, yeah. Thirty-one. Thiiiiiirty-one. Not too bad. And it gave me an excuse to have a nice, relaxing day with friends.