Hangin’ Tough

I hope everyone had a nice Labor Day. Frankly, I’m too exhausted to do much justice to this post today (and no pretty image, sorry!), but I thought I’d give an update since most of you know that my in-laws are here now from El Salvador.

We spent the weekend in Chicago, which was really nice. I love the windy city, and it made sense to hang out for a few days given their 3 a.m. arrival time!

We went to IKEA (they’d never been), to Navy Pier, dinner at Gino’s East (sorry Chicagoans — we are both partial to NY-style and went with thin-crust after tossing the whole deep dish kind last time!).

I’ll be honest, there were several moments of anxiety, of frustration … between the language barrier, and elderly mother-in-law who likes to do things her own way (even if they aren’t acceptable here in the U.S. … I won’t say anything more there!) and a sister-in-law who is severely mentally challenged, so sometimes that makes things hard (we have to hide certain things from her, can’t go into certain stores, etc. — she can’t help it, of course, but it still makes things challenging).

The thing is, this is my husband’s family and, now, mine. And I do love them; it’s just hard for me when they’re here for so long, in my home. I never realized how much of a “space-oriented” person I was until we got married and they began making these 3, 4, 5 week pilgrimages here. (Though I think going forward 3 will be a nice number!)

That said, I feel much better about this trip than previous trips, and tried to channel some of Dr. G’s advice.

I tried to just chillax as much as possible, to remember, it’s only three weeks and like thirteen or fourteen of those days, I’ll be at work. So I need to enjoy the time we have. Plus, when it’s all over, it’s almost my 30th birthday 🙂

So when things felt frustrating, I stepped away–something Dr. G recommended last year (stepping away from a situation that is going to make me uncomfortable for the sake of everyone else). Sometimes anxiety is best dealt with head-on, no doubt; in this instance, it is better for me (personally) to step away.

For example, shopping with them gives me heartburn. I won’t go into it, but just trust me when I say I’m a better/nicer person when I shop on my own, be it in the grocery store or a mall.

So at the outlets yesterday, I agreed to just go on my own and call my husband when I was done so we’d meet up. It made for a more enjoyable experience for everyone; I wasn’t stressed out, and they could browse at their leisure.

As for food … I went with the flow, which was nice. They wanted pizza, so we got pizza — having eaten no greens all day, I ordered a huge salad for myself, and had two little squares of deliciousness at Gino’s for a taste (can’t be in Chicago and not taste it!).

They wanted a big buffet breakfast at the Marriott we were staying at; I enjoyed oatmeal and fruit from the buffet (plus a packet of Justin’s maple almond butter, packed from home 😉

They wanted ice cream at IKEA; I enjoyed the spirit of the moment and had a cone, too. (Did you know IKEA’s ice cream is actually FF fro-yo?! I had no idea!!)

I honestly went with it — which is a big step for me.

And as for exercise … well, Sunday and Monday were heavy walking days and you know what? That felt just fine. I’ll be back to my usual routine this morning.

So that summarizes my weekend. I’m not sure how much blogging I’ll be able to do these next three weeks (and I sure don’t plan to blog about their visit much more) but I will see how things go!

Thanks for the votes of confidence last week; it means a lot!

PS–Today’s title is a shout out to one of my BFFs (she knows who she is!) — I thought it was quite appropriate here 😉


10 thoughts on “Hangin’ Tough

  1. Hi Melissa, Sounds like a challenging couple of weeks but that you have been handling it well. I have a severely disabled aunt so I can relate to the challenges that come with that. It has taken me a while to accept that since I married my husband, I “married” his family. Tricky concept to grasp! But you seem to be handling it as gracefully as possible. Hang in there and hope you can get some rest!

    1. Thanks, Lara. I feel so uncompassionate saying it all out loud, but the truth is, it’s hard. My husband has know her as she is her whole life … so he just accepts it like he accepts the sky is blue. For me, it’s hard not to feel the emotions attached to it. She’s so happy and smiley, but often I feel sad when I look at her because I know had she been brought up here, things would have been different for her. Could have been, I should say — there’s no guarantee.

  2. You are so positive about the whole experience! I love the idea of stepping away. Sometimes I am afraid to do that for fear of what other people think, but I have to remind myself that stepping away might be better for me AND them.

    I think having your b-day to focus on right now is huge, too! Whenever I’m going through something tough, it REALLY helps to have a positive event to focus on. I just keep thinking about that light at the end of the tunnel and it helps me through it. And what better way to celebrate at the end of this than with your b-day!

  3. Good job for taking care of your needs and going off on your own for a bit. I do the same thing when I am with my in-laws. It makes for a much more pleasant experience for everyone.

  4. Congrats on taking care of yourself and rolling with it all. Very admirable. This post has given me a little nudge to take on the day with a little extra positivity.

  5. I remember the last time your in-laws were there. What a difference! You’re doing so much better with stressful situations. Good job Melissa! You’ve got it all figured out. 🙂

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