The visit itself was generally great. I was worried before we left that it would be an emotional train wreck for 10 days, but nothing could be further from the truth,
He looks great, really great. In fact better than I have seen him in a long, long time. If you didn't know that he was so ill then you really wouldn't be able to guess it.
We talked laughed, went 4*4ing (something that we last did when I was 16!) - and proved that full make-up really does give people the wrong impression of you! At one of the obstacles the guy talking people through them said to my dad to stop when my screaming got too loud. My dad instantly told that was never going to happen (and he was right, I may have giggled like a mad woman though :p ) And... I managed to do the see saw the best out of the group of 6 drivers, not quite getting it to balance, but I had it for a fraction and it didn't clang down on the other side as it did with the others it gently dropped so that I could drive off. And my dad looked so proud!
Other than that the weather was awful (Scotland... :p) for large periods of the day (for the 4*4 we had sun shine when we arrived, rain at the start which turn to hail, and then wet snow before disparaging before the end of the hour and driving back home in sun again!) and so we spent the time mainly at my parents house with them totally and utterly spoiling the little guy. It didn't take him long to cotton on to the fact that grandma will let him get away with most and so when we told him no he'd crawl straight for her seat in the living room whether she was in it or not!
I got to see my brother again, for the first time in two years. And I expect it will be a couple of years before I see him again. It was nice for my parents to see us all together for a change - that hasn't happened since I've been living as Stacy. In fact I think the last time was maybe 2010! We are not close.
And it shows... Whilst he is fine(ish) most of the time he can be such a callous, insensitive person. I knew that anyway (he has never congratulated us with the little guy, refuses to call him by his name as it's Dutch and too hard to pronounce - let alone it's a: not and b: can be shortened to an English name...), but he really took it to a new level for me whilst in Scotland.
He has my dad as having died already, and in his mind is already planning the funeral. Seriously. The day after I found out he sent me a text asking for a chat. I thought, wow, he wants us to comfort each other. Nope. Not at all. Starting with the sentence: I know this sounds cold but... And going down from there. My dad is still fixing my car, and has put it into overdrive now to get it done. But that's not enough for my brother. As he has dad as already having died I have to get the car out of the garage as dad is not going to be around to do it. Never mind that he is loving doing it and it's been great therapy for him (albeit that he has forgotten how hard the work is!) and never mind that he is healthy right now. And then when they had disappeared into the garage for 30 minutes to look at the car I thought I would join them only to find him saying exactly those things to dad himself. Like that is what he needs. I was fuming.
And then later that evening causally tells the room that he thinks I look like David Mitchell. And when everyone berated him for saying it saying that I don't, and his girlfriend looking at him in a very incredulous way he repeats it, over and over - never once noticing just how it's making me feel. I missed a lot of sleep that night.
My mum gave me a lot of comfort the next morning in the kitchen when we talked about it and I nearly burst into tears when I told her I had hardly slept because of it. But there is always a sentence with my brother: you know what he is like, he's not going to change, you should ignore him. Like the fact that he has been insensitive since a teenager excuses him from still being insensitive now. I can't excuse him. He's 40 something now and there is no excuse in my eyes.
But, back to fun! He and his girlfriend (who I'd never met before, and is wonderful and way, way too god for him!) left after a day or so and we carried on. Trips to Waterstones (600 books in our library now! And that's not counting the little guys collection of 50 or 60 books!) and shopping trips for shoes with just me and my mum, and for the little guy with the whole family (and wanting to buy the shop!) followed with a lot more little guy and dad running around the house together having a great time.
Whilst the bit about my brother is quite long here (and I needed to get it out!) it was but a couple of days and the rest of the trip was superb!
Except the travelling. Absolutely not the travelling. Toddlers sleep in cars apparently. No one has told our little guy that! 9 hours due to traffic jams on the worst day and he slept (almost every day the same) for just 40 minutes. 40. It got to the point where he would cry when we got into the car and cheer when we turned the engine off! Ug! Admittedly the cheering was ultra cute so we made a game of it, counting down to turning it off, cheering and then doing a high five with him :)
Right now dad is looking at experimental treatment (as there is no current treatment that will help him, it will only make him ill again) to see if there is something that can be done there and trying to live the best he can. All I hope is that he gets more time with the little guy and that the little guy gets some memories of his granddad. Fingers crossed!