When I asked my mom what she wanted to do for Mother’s Day, she wasn’t into going out to eat. She actually wanted to go to a horse race, and they don’t have those on Sundays and it’s a tough month for us schedule-wise. So the horse race is probably gonna come later.

And then my dad went to my high school’s fundraiser auction and spent way too much money, so she declared that he would cook a meal for her for Mother’s Day instead.

The difference between Paul and I is I pretty much started my Mother’s Day shopping a month ago, and he half-heartedly did his Saturday. I’ll admit that she’s hard to shop for, but sometimes, it’s like he just doesn’t want to spend the money. I can’t blame her. I’ve seen beautiful, sweet mother-of-the-groom gifts on Pinterest that I know I don’t want to buy for her. I don’t feel that kind of warmth for her, and sometimes, I think she did more damage to her kids than anything.

The difference between my family and Paul’s family is that I asked my mom weeks ago what she wanted to do for Mother’s Day and Paul’s family stopped asking his mom years ago because it goes nowhere. Like so many events with his family, it’s play by ear. I hate it, at least combined with his family dynamic–his mom prioritizes her family over anyone else’s, in the sense that me and the other significant others end up feeling like we’re treated like we don’t even have families at all. The expectation is to be with her family. Ours are afterthoughts. It’s really difficult to juggle holidays between the two families when there’s never any set plan until the last possible minute with one of them, because it means someone gets shafted. Someone ends up being accommodated rather than prioritized.

And with Paul’s family, these things are somehow all-day affairs. That makes it harder and easier at the same time–it means you can drop in late and it’s no big deal, but it also means that I spend a few hours with my family and then the rest of the day with Paul’s. It feels like an ordeal you have to psych yourself up for.

Everyone was on their best behavior, though–Terra jokingly asked me later if Paul’s mom tried to plan our wedding, but she never even mentioned it. On the one hand, I’m hoping the heat is all on his sister moving to Erie this summer and his brother getting married this fall, and on the other hand, I don’t wish that on them.

It also feels like a trap I’ve fallen into so many times before, where she’s nice and pleasant and before I know it, my guard is down and I’m saying a little more than maybe I should and sure enough, her disrespect comes out and I’m hearing a few weeks later about all the complaints she made behind my back. I know better now. Don’t offer up any information other than what you’re asked. You will offend her at some point. Stand your ground. Don’t let her get away with it when she gets mean.

All that said, hanging out with the cousins and siblings is getting more and more fun. I don’t know if maybe it’s because they’re all getting older–I’m actually the oldest of the group, since I’m older than Paul, and his youngest cousin isn’t even a year old while mine is 17. It’s getting a little calmer and everyone has an easier time talking to each other, it seems.

And of course, there’s always his grandparents’ dog, Woody, who is my BFF. He jumps all over me, probably because I pet him as much as he wants me to, and he sits right by me in the empty spot on the glider on the porch. Like, it’s Woody’s spot.

Paul’s grandma saw me petting him and made some comment about spoiling him. Why, yes, I am showering him with the affection he clearly craves.

I found out that Paul’s grandparents don’t keep water in the dogs’ dishes because it makes them pee–they just kind of fill them when they feel like it, I guess, which is especially infuriating since they have a fenced-in yard and only have to open the door to let them out. So stay tuned for Father’s Day to see if I report them for animal abuse!

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