I don't know if this event truly qualifies as an adventure, but it was a new experience for Linda and I as a couple and just for me as an individual. We went to my parents' house for Easter Sunday today. There were 7 of us, the additional 3 being my brother, his girlfriend and my paternal grandmother. We had entirely too much food, just the right amount of booze and wine and a great deal of laughs. This was not our first holiday together, as I was home visiting this last Christmas and Linda joined us on that day as well. However, this came together differently and in a way that it never has before.
For the last 10 years I have been around for Christmas ever year (except 2006 while I was in the Middle East). I hadn't made it home for any Easters and only 1 Thanksgiving. I may have happened to have been around for random Independence Days that coincided with a summer vacation, but I never went for the holiday. Prior to my departure, I lived in that house so I was ever-present anyway. But the mere fact that I was home on Easter and enjoying it with the family was far from the adventure.
Pre-military I lived there and was present because I was there. During my military stint I would fly in for the sake of the event and already be there. Today, for the first time, I went to visit my parents for the day. I left my house and drove to their's - no leave, no planes, not part of a bigger whole. It was just a day visit. Obviously, Linda was with me. We made something to bring (adorable dyed deviled eggs) and showed up there together. We hung out for a few hours, ate, socialized and left. At Christmas I was visiting and at my folks' house and she came over for the day. This was different. I was home but not really.
Every time we are together, my mother realized I am becoming more like my father, and let me tell you, of the 7 billion people on the planet there are about 6.99 billion worse people I could turn into. And as much as she complains that I have the same sarcastic sense of humor that usually makes her the butt of many jokes, she loves every minute of it. She joked that Linda and I act like a married couple, primarily when I complain (with the sound of defeat in my voice) about Linda's array of beauty products overwhelming every available bathroom surface and when I admit to having no say in the overall decor of our new home. My father enjoys talking with me on a whole new level. What was once a guiding hand in getting my life set up is now much closer to a peer in terms of home repairs and equity and all the other things we talk about as adults.
Linda is very much adopted as a Viglione, for better or for worse, and may not be able to escape even if she tried, at this point. She seeks refuge with my mother after dad and I use our wonder twin powers of sarcasm and jibing, yet is quick to distance herself from the fray when my mother seeks the same refuge in her. She has learned already how to not get roped into the mayhem.
At the end of the day, we packed up the car with the leftovers (enough to have fed the 7 of us roughly 7 times over) and headed home, but again I was not really departing as much as just going to my own home down the road. It was a unique feeling to arrive and depart as a couple, to visit without it being part of a longer visit, to know that I'm home but not quite home.
The adventure may not quite have been the day, but the understanding that our adventure and journey are much, much bigger. It served to reaffirm that our adventure is only just beginning. It will be quite an adventure with ups and downs, but we'll travel it together and when my family is involved one thing is for sure, it won't be dull. It'll be full of laughs and love every step of the way.