Despite a few bumps, this trip was definitely better than the last one!
We arrived home, after the eight hour drive, about 10:30 last night and proceeded to share a bottle of wine and a plate of appetizers/snacks and process more about the trip. S's very good intention of solely focusing on supporting me didn't exactly work out. I think it's impossible to just disregard your own needs, at least over a length of time.
S was supportive but also wanted my support and attention at certain times in which it was difficult to give. For example, he offered a couple of times to take care of Zoey's needs while I did a family activity (Zoey did great on this trip btw!). When he came back and joined us, he wanted some focused attention, such as a smile/kiss and a thank you. This seems reasonable, however, when you are immersed in play with two little ones, ages three and five, it can be difficult to turn your focus to someone else in this way - at least I've discovered it's difficult for me! My limitations as an introvert definitely come into play here. I did acknowledge him and immediately began including him in the conversation, but I didn't give him the "good job!" feedback he was longing for. He admits this is a need of his that has come up in other relationships and goes way back.
On my part, I was better able to stay self-connected and was happy I had the wherewithal to remember our intention to support one another and talk through feelings after intense family times. The last night, however, I kind of lost it when S brought up what to me was a very minor nit-picky oversight of mine to give him that pat on the head after taking Zoey out on a walk while we were at my sister's. I was in relax and play mode, and I felt like he ruined it. In retrospect, I was the one that made it a "big deal." I think I was just tired and really needed some fun. He felt bad about it and later said he could have just written it down or talked about it at a different time.
Similar to my desire for greater self-connection, he acknowledged that in the future, he wants to have better self-connection and to not choose to do things that he can't do freely, without need of a significant show of appreciation. I don't know if that's always possible to know ahead of time, but I like his intention to do this.
Overall, I think we did a lot better, though. We had lots more happy times and much less fighting. On the way back, we talked about whether we could ever live in Oregon. We came to the conclusion that we could (and it would be great in terms of being close to nieces and nephews), but we would need a significant in-road or reason to do so. This might be having our own kid, connecting with an intentional community, or feeling like we could really make a difference there in some way.
Additional fun times with family that I would like to remember: S and I bowling with my brother, sister-in-law, and baby niece Vivi (well, she didn't bowl :); us going to an Oregon Du.ck basketball game with my dad and other family in their awesome relatively new arena; spending some nice time with my 92-year-old grandpa, who is looking much better after having pneumonia; seeing my aunt and uncle in their new home; holding sweet Vivi and making her smile; and playing charades and reading books with my niece and nephew. My mom was really sick so couldn't come out and do things with us, unfortunately.
Final note on ttc: I forgot to bring my birth con.trol pills on the trip, but I guess it's okay to start taking them within the first few days of your cycle (I started this cycle on Saturday, dashing the ever so small hope we had). My polyp surgery is still scheduled for the 8th.