Well, I'm back from the ancestral home. It was mostly a good visit, but I stayed about 12 hours too long. I'm trying not to dwell on the unhappy ending of the trip, so I'll simply say that my mother, who has given up bourbon for Lent, decided to take advantage of the liturgical tradition that Sundays are not part of Lent, so she broke out the bottle Sunday around 4:30 p.m. Conversation quickly turned to her frustrations with my brother -- some of which I share, so it was easy to be quietly sympathetic while not throwing him under the buss -- and then something that she has never forgiven her long-dead father for. I should have known that it was only a matter of time before my head was on the block, and yet somehow I didn't see it coming, thinking that we were having a cozy, intimate chat at the end of a hectic weekend. But then, boom! she let me have it. The common thread in all three of her complaints -- about my brother, my dead grandfather, and me -- was that none of us really appreciate(d) her. I weirdly stayed very emotionally detached during the whole thing, which is unusual for me, and really only got a little teary about it today when I was talking with D. on the cell phone as I drove back home. Anyway, my mother's rant didn't actually last very long, and then we spent the next three hours sitting on opposite sides of the living room, pretending that it wasn't that we weren't talking to each other but rather than we were both so absorbed in our books. Plus, she kept falling asleep/passing out and then coming to again, which was a little unsettling. And we didn't have dinner, so I finally went into the kitchen and just got myself some cheese and crackers. By 9:00 I was in my bedroom, packing everything up to get the hell out of dodge as soon as I could the next morning. We didn't actually even say goodnight, just both silently left the room -- very strange. This morning was super awkward, and although we did share a quick kiss as I left, there was no hug and no warmth.
I drove the first two hours this morning in silence, feeling totally weighed down. I'd been loving my "springing forward" energy at the start of spring break, and my plan had been that I would keep that energy going when I got back from my visit, but the weight on my shoulders this morning meant that this just didn't seem possible. But then I spent some driving time thinking about next year's AP Lit course (which I'll be teaching for the first time), and then I thought about some writing things, and then I listened to a couple of Zadie Smith essays on CD, and then I called D and told her all about it and got sort of teary, and now I'm back home and have showered, and there's a cat on my lap as I type this, and I'm thinking that, after a good night's sleep and no emotional demands, I may be back to springing forward in a day or two.