The year after we finished building our house and moved in, we promised to spend Thanksgiving with Brett’s daughters in Colorado. Our plan was to drive out there, leaving a few days before the holiday, and taking a couple of days to make the 17 hour drive. The morning of our departure arrived and it was snowing. I had never lived with snow before, being a native Southern California suburbia girl. I was also very apprehensive about our Thanksgiving visit to Colorado. My relationship with Brett’s daughters was new and full of difficulty. Brett’s divorce from their mother had been ugly, and they didn’t know me well enough yet to decide what was true and what wasn’t in the charges she leveled against me.
Brett and I went down to the barn with the snow falling around us and fed the horses. Brett threw a few snowballs and took pictures. I racked my brain for ways to delay our departure; even better, ways to keep from leaving home at all. Back in the house, I stood at the picture windows overlooking the front gardens and arena. I looked past the arena and the barn, past the empty fields, over the tops of the oak trees to the mountain ridge. I suggested hot chocolate and marshmallows. Brett declined and started loading the car with our suitcases. I expressed my desire to stay home, but plans were plans, and in the end we had to go. I knew that; much as I hated it.
I also hoped that by delaying and watching the snow fall for an hour or two, the roads would become impassable and we would be unable to leave. Eventually, reluctantly, I climbed in the car and we drove down the road leaving the beauty of our snow covered ranch behind.
We drove through more snow in Arizona and again inColorado. Our hotel in Colorado Springs was beautiful and fairy tale perfect. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving was difficult. I remember feeling like an outsider – and an unwelcome outsider at that. Brett was thrilled to be with his daughters so I did my best to hold the hurt inside. Once the holiday pictures were taken and we left, I cried in the car all the way back to the hotel. And, I don’t cry easily or often.
I longed for the peaceful fall of snow on my garden, muting and muffling the pain.