Last month Susan had the pleasure of sitting in a car packed to capacity with her family and their suitcases before emerging twelve hours later in North Carolina. Susan and her family were visiting her elder step-daughter's family, which included two brand new baby boys! In addition, Susan's younger step-daughter would be joining them with her own toddling daughter. Everyone bunking in the same house.
Susan doesn't care for the term step-daughter because she really lucked out with these two. But, for the purpose of this post, it identifies the relationship. Susan and her step-daughters have spent many hundreds of hours together. However, they were divided into increments of 5 over the course of 15 years, not over one long weekend.
Susan's hosts spoiled her;
First, by the father of the twins who jumped up to make his step-mother-in-law coffee whenever she needed a hit. When he wasn't impressing her with his magic caffeine elixir he was pouring her another glass of sangria or a snifter of something delightful and intoxicating.
Then, by the mother of the twins who fetched Susan a blanket to chase away the chilly night air as they all sat outside drinking, smoking, chatting and laughing. She also indulged Susan in hunting down a local thrift shop (because Susan has a monkey on her back) and turned Susan on to a favorite cheap wine, a case of which she managed to stuff into her trunk on the way out of town.
Lastly, by two utterly adorable brothers, so charming and sweet, happy and bright, chubby and blue-eyed. Who could care about anything else when they're in the room?
Susan's younger step-daughter is no slouch herself;
she's got a toddler in tow, a bun in her oven, a full time job and still likes her husband. One of Susan's fave parts of the visit was being given 'Europeans', a kiss on each cheek, by the toddler.
Oh, and this particular step-daughter bought Susan some underpants.
Susan tried to be a good guest by cleaning up after herself, pitching in with household chores and reorganizing a few closets to her own specifications (because Susan's OCD travels with her).
After three days fish and house guests begin to stink so Susan folded herself, her family and their suitcases back into the car and made the grueling twelve hour trek home.