My husband and I are currently enjoying a real winter Bozeman, Montana, in the house where he grew up. My in-laws’ place is simply awesome – it’s a modest but incredibly cozy 2-story house just outside of town, with land stretching out behind it for half a mile. While someone else rents this land during the summer to grow things, right now it’s covered in a few feet of soft, dry powder – perfect for cross-country skiing or letting the dogs romp around and exhaust themselves.
It took us two and a half days and $1,700 in car maintenance (almost all of which was preventative, done before we embarked) to get here, so we are taking it really easy so far. Amazingly enough, this is not only my first Christmas as a married person, but my first Christmas away from home. Last year was the first time my husband and I spent the holidays together, but we came to Montana for Thanksgiving and had Christmas with my parents. This year we did the opposite, and it’s a lucky thing, as my mother-in-law is currently in the hospital for some complications following a surgery. A cat scan revealed abnormal lymph nodes, so she is getting those tested today. We are hoping for the best, but also anticipating the worst. Christmas revelry takes a backseat to major health issues such as these.
Hopefully though she’ll be home tomorrow and we can celebrate together – my husband, my mother- and father-in-law, and my brother- and sister-in-law. It’s a wonderful change to have a real winter as a backdrop this year. While I feel a tad guilty for leaving my own parents childless this year for the first time (my brother is also spending his *first!* Christmas away from home, visiting his girlfriend’s parents on the east coast), it’s nice to be spending some time with my *other* family. What I’ve found that’s great about in-laws is that they’re family, but they’re *new* family, free from some of the baggage/issues/annoyance I might experience with my own blood relatives. Maybe I’ll change my tune in 15 years, but right now I love my in-laws, and I’m happy to be spending some time in Montana.
I seem to have misplace my camera batteries, but I’ll try to post some Montana photos (mostly snow-covered dogs, I’m sure) in the next few days.