I hadn't been home for six months. (For those of you who have forgotten about my disastrous visit, you can check it out here.) Master told me, at the time, that I wasn't going home again without him. But still, even knowing that he would be there, I was terrified. I told my mother that I was bringing him to Thanksgiving at the beginning of October.
We had been on the phone for about 30 minutes, gabbing, shooting the shit... Things had been relatively back to normal for a while. In my head, I was trying to get up the courage to tell her. I didn't ask.
"I'm going to bring _____ (insert Master's name here) to Thanksgiving.
There was a pause on the line...
"You know we've been dating for six months..."
"Oh... Well, I will be happy to buy your ticket. You will have to get _____'s."
I let it go. It went over better than I expected, really. We moved along with the conversation. I was able to relax and let out a sigh of relief.
The next morning, I got a text message. "Dad would like to buy both of your plane tickets for y'all to come for Thanksgiving." All right Dad! Way to be progressive and understanding! Wooooo! (Small victories, ok?) It took me a couple of weeks to find a good deal, and I bought the tickets.
I started having nightmares. (Yes, folks... I have PTSD) Several nights a week, I would dream about fighting with my parents. These weren't little arguments. These were rage-fueled, violent arguments. I usually woke myself crying. The dreams lasted for two or three weeks.
One day, I called my mother to catch up. Historically, we have been really close, like best friends. She was prattling on about preparing for Thanksgiving. It is a really big deal in my family: china, crystal, the whole nine yards.
"I've thought about it and ____ can stay in your room. You can stay on the fold-out bed in my office." (Remember: no vile, evil, extra sinful premarital sex going on here!)
"I've actually found us an AirBnB."
"Oh, ok." She sounded awkward, as though the thought of us sharing a bed made her uncomfortable. I'm sure it did.
I had a short respite, and my sleep eventually returned to normal (medically induced coma). However, the anxiety came back, during the day.
I struggle with anxiety and depression as a part of my bipolar disorder. Normally, I can control the anxiety: get plenty of sleep, exercise, take a walk, something. This was crippling. Add in that I was about to start a new job, and what have you got? Dysfunction...can't get off the couch, must hide under a blanket anxiety. I tried everything: prescriptions, marijuana, alcohol, herbs... Nothing really took care of it. I tried mixing combinations of things to little avail. It kept getting worse until the night before we flew.
That night, I didn't bother sleeping. We needed to be at the airport at 0400 anyway. I got caught up in preparations, packing, etc. I was emotional, yes. I was on-edge, yes. But I was functional. I think I was just kind of in shock.
We arrived at my parents house around 1930. I felt as though everything happened in slow motion. My mom came out of the backdoor. I scrambled to get out of the car. All the while, information was streaming in. She looks happy. She isn't hiding anything. She is glad to see me... us! I could barely wrap my mind around it. I ran to her and picked her up in a bear hug. When I put her down again, Master was out of the car. She ran over to him and happily introduced herself. I felt like I was in a dream. In fact, writing this is bringing tears to my eyes. We went inside. My dad was in the livingroom. He is glad to see us! He stands and warmly introduces himself to Master and shakes his hand.
IT WAS A THANKSGIVING MIRACLE.
We talked until well after my parents' bedtime. We had fun chattering and laughing like Master had always been a part of the family. My mother laughed until tears streamed down her face.
When Master and I got to where we were staying, the dam holding back my emotions buckled. I broke down in tears of relief and anxiety and put myself right to bed.
The next day, we rose early and went to my parents' house to steal some breakfast. My mother roped me into helping her prepare the house. We laid out the tablecloths and the napkins and the napkin rings and the good silver and the crystal glasses. While we were working, my father, in a completely atypical fashion, offered to take Master on errands with him to hang out and get out of our way.
It made me nervous, but my mother told me not to worry. So, I did my best not to. We finished setting the table, and we sat down for a minute. I felt exhausted, which led into feeling anxious. Within just a few minutes, I called Master and asked when he was going to be home.
So, the days went on: happiness and merrymaking punctuated by anxiety that led me to hide in my room with Master at my side. My mother laughed until tears streamed down her face. Not only did my parents love him... my ENTIRE family loved him! My friends loved him! As I began to adjust, my anxiety lessened a little.
We said goodbye to my parents the night before we flew. I cried. It was the first time in years that I didn't want to leave home.
It was the best Thanksgiving that I have ever had. I'm still in shock. I can hardly believe it. I'm so grateful. It really was a miracle.
I can still see her face. Her eyes were bright with smiles and laughter and wet with tears as she looked at us.