Christmas on The Lake

Friday, January 9, 2015

This year we made a trek up to Montana to spend Christmas with my in-laws. The drive. Oh, the drive. I could make it on the regular, that lovely drive. Washington, Idaho and Western Montana are a road tripper's dream scenery-wise.

Family get-togethers are seldom easy for me. I come from vastly different stock than Mario, which is part of what makes us work so darn well. The yin to my yang, that man. But when you get contrasting people together, an introvert whose therapist once described her as "not what I'd call 'easy-going'" starts to ruminate. What ifs. Anticipation of any and all possible social scenarios. Plans A-Z of how to prevent awkwardness.

This is not to say I don't get along with my in-laws. I care for them deeply, actually. Still, those fundamental differences can be tricky to navigate. Less so than in the early years, but walls are not always easily dismantled. I've learned so much from them: ranch life, textile arts, living without a plan. Love. Boy do they love each other in their perfectly imperfect ways. It can be hard for an outsider to shine in these situations. It just takes time.

After over a decade in this relationship, I'm finding my groove. The anxiety period before visits becomes shorter and shorter. The visits themselves feel more natural. An easy rapport is in the works, which makes me happy. We've also figured out how to maintain our own unique way of life while gelling with theirs.

My in-laws own a beautiful property on Flathead Lake, just south of Glacier National Park. Normally we stay in our favorite little waterfront cabin across from the main house, but with winter in full swing we instead opted for a room at the little inn down the street. An easy walk between the two, but with the advantage of indoor plumbing and heat. It allowed everyone their space, and the opportunity to have quiet family time just the three of us.

No matter how many times I go up to The Lake (as we call it), I'm always in awe of its breathtaking beauty. You know those places that make you realize just how vast the world around us truly is? This is one of those places for me. For Mario, too, I think.

It was a beautiful visit full of laughter, love and Apples to Apples marathons. Christmas morning brought gifts, sure, but also much more: Togetherness. Connection. Kinship.

It was the best kind of day.


  1. much to say! hahaha....surprised, eh?! First off......did ya'll use code?? Laughed several times during the holidays thinking about ya'll in another world with the specialness of something only the 3 of you shared! And obviously, you did the "image a day" dealio.....cuz you've got some great shots, missy!!
    My news is that baby Josey was born, our 5th grandchild in 5 yrs! check out my blog on the 1-13 to see the precious thing.
    Also..............I'M GOING TO THE GLACIER PARK IN MONTANA IN JUNE!!!! this lil southern chick is goin' north!! Our 4th son, who doesn't really belong to us but we have mostly raised, is getting married there and my hubs is going to be the officiant. Highlarious, I tell ya. Cuz if you knew him, you'd be laughing your arse off at the mere thought of that!! But can ya tell me where the best place to stay is? I'd really like to rent a house big enough for our whole family and I have no clue where to begin to look. They are getting married inside the park so I assume that's where we need to be. We're going to stay for awhile since we'll be there and none of us have ever been to Montana. That is north of the mason Dixon line, right??? (heheheheheh)

  2. ok girlie....been checking for updates and I don't see you anywhere. You ok? I'm a leetle bit worried bout ya.....

    holler when you can!


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