Our 2014 Midwestern Tour!

Oh man, last week was so wonderful, I can’t even tell you. It all worked out in a marvelous way, thanks to my kind and flexible co-workers and my great family. Here’s what we did:

We started the week in Detroit for my brother, Chris's, surprise 30th birthday celebration. My sister-in-law Amanda organized it all, including a Tigers game and gambling at the Greektown Casino. We had such a fantastic time. My brother was totally surprised! And my other brother Tim and his wife Sarah also flew in, so it was a real family reunion. Plus Chris and I won over $100 each at the craps table. We're such ballers. I don't know if you've spent much time in downtown Detroit recently (and no, no one tried to shoot us), but they are working really hard to make it a fun place to be. Lots of great entertainment objects, good bars, yummy restaurants...check it out!
The whole gang at Comerica Park.
Picture courtesy of Andrea Nichols. Hilarious matching shirts courtesy of Amanda Hess.
Because we were in town for my brother, we happened to be around for a small burial ceremony for my grandmother. Although the main ceremony/celebration of her life will be in November, it was so great to be a part of this intimate memorial. It was the closure I needed, with the family I needed to see. Plus, we went to Big Boy afterwards – my grandma’s favorite restaurant. :o) It was perfect.

Then we went to Monday Night Football to see the Lions crush the Giants! I grew up going to Lions games with my family, but I haven’t been back for a game in years. And Brandon had never been! So it was a thrill to go with my family again, and experience my mom’s amazing tailgate food, and the rush of all the players taking the field, and the deafening roar of the crowd. I was so proud to show my husband something my family loves to do together.  Also I was so proud of the Lions – they played so well!

Then onto Chicago (or just outside of Chicago) to help my sister out with her new baby! Kristen and my brother-in-law, Chris, had an adorable baby girl named Audrey just a couple weeks ago, and they already have Maddie, the sweetest little two and a half year old in the world. I can’t tell you how much I love these girls. It makes my heart hurt right now, just thinking about how magical and terrific they both are. I cannot wait to give them a little cousin to play with! (Or in Maddie’s case, boss around. She will certainly be the bossy one, and not just because she’s older. It’s reason #356 why I love her.)

Anyway, the family is taking turns staying with Kristen through the next couple weeks, and Brandon and I were able to go last week, thanks to our flexible bosses. Chris had some Canadian businessmen to wine and dine, so we were more than happy to jump in and wine and dine the rest of the family (most dining and diaper changing, honestly…not a lot of wine for the preggo and the post-preggo).

I could write paragraphs about the joy of being in their house this past week… Brandon and I both learned so much about being parents, both on a long term schedule but also in the short term afterbirth period. I think the biggest surprise for me was how BUSY I was! I don’t know, I just expected more downtime. Turns out caring for two children, shopping, cooking meals, and running errands keeps you pretty darn busy. Never again will I ask stay-at-home moms or moms on maternity leave what they did during their days – now I know. I know they basically kept themselves and their babies alive without the house collapsing around them. Which is all pretty miraculous, honestly. These women are super heroes.

My sister is my best friend, and it was so incredibly lovely to have this much time with her. It was exactly what we both needed, and it was very hard to leave. I’m choking up just typing it, and it was over three days ago! It’s when I’m with her that I really wish I still lived back east. I know it’s not practical for us right now, I know it’s not right for our careers, and I know I’d get super sick of the winters, like, immediately. But that ache to be near family is strong, particularly in my current condition.

And last but not least, we spent the weekend in Columbus, OH, to see our dear friends Nicky and Linsey get married! Nicky was my best friend in college and is basically the greatest person in the world. She is the sort of person we should all strive to be. She is kind, caring, and extremely intelligent. Every choice she makes is a conscious one to make the world a better place. And Linsey is her perfect match!

The beautiful brides!
Anyway, because a work event back in LA got cancelled, we were able to stay through the weekend in the Midwest and attend their beautiful wedding. It was a sweet, intimate affair, with lots of family and a few close friends. It was my first gay wedding, but honestly, it was exactly like every wedding I’ve been to – I was a sobbing mess throughout because it was so obvious to me how perfect these two people were for each other. Well, I guess the only difference is that I cried even more after the ceremony ended at the thought that, until very recently, this wasn’t possible. Anybody could see how in love these two women are, so why on earth would we stand in the way of their union? But thank God that’s changed now, and they were able to get hitched!

I’m very grateful to my very accommodating co-workers for letting me take a full week off to attend these major life events. The hardest part of living in Los Angeles is missing out on these milestones in my families’ lives. It was so luxurious to go back for a full week and see so much family and experience so many of these special moments I usually miss out on.  I got to see so many people – both sets of parents, almost all of my siblings and their spouses, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces, and dear friends. It was more than I could have ever asked for, and I’m grateful for it.

I know this post doesn't have the usual life lesson/epiphany/positive affirmation that I usually like to include. But I guess if I would have to pick one, it is this - family is wonderful. I'm so happy to have mine.

And I'm so happy to be creating my own little family with Brandon.