Checked bag or carry-on?

I have just returned from several days in Oregon. I had never been to the Northwest before – it is lovely. But it’s flippin’ hot. I expected cool ocean breezes, and instead was met with 100 degree temps. The cool ocean breezes? Only within 15 miles of said ocean. Who knew?

Mr. Wonderful had to go out to Oregon for work, and I tagged along. After one of his customers tried to kill us via alcohol poisoning (wine tasting + pre-dinner martini + bottle of wine at dinner + round of port with dessert + jet lag = OMFG), we hung out with Mr. Wonderful’s family for a few days.

It was an aunt and uncle who love Mr. Wonderful like he was their own son, their actual son, daughter-in-law and two high-maintenance grandkids. And then there was the infamous uncle, who is actually the standard by which all things are judged. I’m not kidding – at one point, Mr. Wonderful and his cousin were discussing a pole in relation to the size of their uncle’s forearm.

A good time was had by all, and they are very welcoming and friendly and warm. It was interesting, though – there would be comments like, “Well, Mr. Wonderful, at your wedding, remember Uncle Jim and blah blah blah?” Or at breakfast this morning, his aunt asked Mr. Wonderful if she had given him a recipe box for his wedding, like she had given his sister.

Later, she asked me if I ever go pick up the Ladybug from her mother’s house. I must have made a horrific face, and the first thing that blurted out of my mouth was, “Ex-Mrs. Wonderful doesn’t even make eye contact with me.” Then I attempted to gather my reserves and said, “I don’t think I even exist in her world.”

Mr. Wonderful’s aunt laughed and said, “Maybe that’s a good thing.”

And his uncle chimed in, “Just be thankful they only had one kid, not two!”

Now, the infamous uncle’s ladyfriend peppered her conversation with references to her three former husbands, just like it was a fact of life. I caught myself wondering if that bothered infamous uncle at all, but seeing as how many of his stories featured “the gal I was living with at the time,” I figured not.

This morning, in the car to the airport, Mr. Wonderful apologized for all the references to his wedding. And I opened my mouth to say it wasn’t a big deal, only to find that I had a frog in my throat.

The rational truth is that he was married before. And his family loves him very much, and the wedding was a celebration of his happiness and a family reunion and a joyful time.

The irrational feeling is that it makes me feel like a hanger-on, like I’m late and not necessarily welcome at the party. Which makes no rational sense, as I have been very much welcomed by the family.

I’m not hurt, I’m just lonely. Lonely, floating along on Girlfriend Island, which is not far from the Island of the Misfit Toys. I’m not a stepmom or a wife. I’m a girlfriend who has been handed a whole mess of luggage. I vacillate on thinking it is baggage or it is treasure. Probably some of both. But I still have to figure out what to do with it all.

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