We got up this morning and got ready to go eat and such with Ben and Jessica, but it turned out that they had to take care of a few things earlier than expected, so we met them instead of lunch at Sweet and Savory. Amanda and I used to go there a lot, but it’s been quite a while now since we’ve been there. It was actually, as Amanda pointed out, the first place we went with Ben and Jessica Lambeth. The place was packed with graduation-celebrating families.

Ben and Jessica came by the house afterwards (they did some errands between that and Amanda and I went by Target) and we exchanged Christmas presents. We had gotten them (as I think I mentioned) some picture frame coasters from Things Remembered and they got us one of those things that you put a tea light into then put a scented thing on top of it, which then melts. I have no idea what it’s called, but it looks really nice- fits in with our decor very well. Ben’s the one who picked it out, too.

Between the time Ben and Jessica left the house the first time this morning and the time we went out to eat, Tim Henrich, a co-worker of mine, came by to drop off his work phone. He’s going to be out of town for an extended period of time. I showed him around the house and we chatted a bit. He’s thinking about moving to Maryland or Pennsylvania. I told him I was going to develop abandonment issues.

After Ben and Jessica left for Winston-Salem Amanda and I went to the mall to do our very last bit of Christmas shopping. We got something for Kirsten Frazelle and went to Things Remembered to fix a typo on a gift we’d purchased (our fault, not theirs). With one week left before Christmas, the place was, of course, packed. After we took care of all that we went to Pier One so Amanda could pick up something for her Secret Santa at work. And that was it. The end of Christmas Shopping.

We had some plans for later tonight, but we didn’t go through with them because I got bummed out after talking to my parents. See, a month or more ago Amanda and I started trying to coordinate our Christmas plans. We wanted to have Christmas at our house since it’s our first Christmas in the house. It took a number of conversations to get Amanda’s mom, Karen Mercer, to agree to do it at our place, and part of what won her over was that we were planning on having my parents come Christmas Day. We wanted my sister, Andra Dotsey, and her finacee and son, Josh and Jackson Sawyer, to come too, but Andra wasn’t sure if she’d be able to make it. Sucks, but we planned on getting together the next weekend. But my parents were still planning on coming. They were going to go to Gastonia for Jackson’s birthday (the 23rd), open presents there then come here to see us.

So then my other sister, Erin, who is out living in Portland, Oregon, gets a flight home for Christmas Day evening. Since it’s about four hours from Gastonia to Wilmington, my parents probably wouldn’t be here very long before they’d have to go right on back to Raleigh to pick Erin up from the airport, so there wouldn’t be much of a point in them coming here, would there?

This sucks. Amanda could tell from my voice when I was talking to my mom that I wasn’t happy about it. We made arrangements a long time in advance and then as it comes time for those plans they unravel. This happened this summer when we were going to Kentucky, too. We made plans then the plans changed on us right before we were going to leave. Part of me felt selfish for wanting things to go my way, but another part of me was really annoyed that I tried to do things right but then end up getting shafted again and again.

I know Andra’s got Jackson and everything, and we even considered just having Christmas in Gastonia but from what I hear there’s not a lot of room in my sister’s house. I just feel like Amanda and I must be too straight-laced and boring, and I wonder if this sort of thing will perpetuate even after we have kids. I have a hard time picturing my parents giving 50-50 with another grandchild. Am I just over-actively seeking the attention of my parents? If so, why? I don’t think I ever looked for it all that much growing up. I wanted recognition for some of the things I did at times, but I don’t think I ever really felt attention-needy.

Zach Dotsey