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When we left Duluth last January Patrick and I were barely speaking. A silly misunderstanding was the tipping point for us after nearly a week of hectic and stressful "fun." He told me later that he was never going to go back and I was a bit afraid that he might actually mean that. He can be stubborn, my husband.

Since we got married and moved away, nearly 13 years ago, our visits home have stressed me out. Patrick's family lives in Superior (right next to Duluth) and I've always felt that we had to see everyone every time we were in town. My mom, my dad, my grandma, his grandma, his dad, our friends and on and on...a crazy list, especially in the 2 or 3 days we'd be in town. You can imagine how much harder it got after we had James...the visits home were fewer, everyone really wanted to see the baby, and we had the actual baby to take care of on top of it all.

I'm not saying that every minute spent at home over the last decade has been miserable. I am really close with my family and love all the time we have together. (mostly. haha) I'd be happy to spend all our time with them while we're in town but my husband has this family too, and even though his family isn't as close as mine I still felt like we had to share our time equally. Patrick really couldn't care less. That sounds awful but he's not hateful towards them or anything...they're just not that close.

I have talked with my mom many times over the years about how guilty I feel about all of this. I think I am finally accepting that I cannot strengthen ties that have never been there and that my energy & our time needs to be spent doing things that are good for our family...the 4 of us.

I really wanted this trip to Duluth to be about us, specifically about Patrick as it was his vacation. He had agreed to do some odd jobs for my mom while we were there but aside from that (and he was happy to do those...she paid him. ;) I just wanted us to relax and do whatever we wanted. I never even mentioned seeing his family and you know what? He called them himself! We had one very nice night at his dad's and got to see the lot of them. His grandma was hinting around that we should come over again but I didn't take the bait and didn't feel guilty about it. I also told them we were staying in Madison this Christmas. (yay!) (this sounds awful but as with most families, there's a lot more to the story)

We knew we wanted to camp at my Dad's and I definitely had places I wanted to go but no schedule. And we had so much fun! It felt like a real family vacation. I am just so thankful we had this time up there and that Patrick enjoyed it as much as I did. I don't want our weekends at home to be stressful's just not worth it.


  1. I love the point you make about letting go of trying to stregthen family ties that just aren't there--I have obsessed over that with respect to one of my family members for years. I am just now realizing that I need to let it go.

  2. Connecting with those you love and who support you is what life is really about. It looks like you had a wonderful time "connecting" and even though your kids are young they will remember these times. Keep building memories for yourself and your family.

  3. Sounds like a great time. I to have trouble with the Marks family. It is hard to get over. Good for you for letting go.

  4. thanks, guys. what is it with in laws?? :)


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