We went to Cleveland on Saturday to spend the day with my family. It was the first time RJ was coming to my hometown on Lake Erie and I felt so nervous. I just did not know what he would think and I hoped it would go well with meeting more of my family. I really enjoyed talking on our drive to my hometown and I had to chuckle when RJ asked me, "Am I asking too many questions?" One of best parts was that as I was taking him around town to see where I went to school and the first house that I grew up and the time he spent with my family, he took a genuine interest in it all. It was not like he was doing this stuff out of obligation, but that he really wanted to be there and participate. He was also very kind in sharing that he loved how cozy and comfortable my family's house felt and it was exactly what he imagined in a house near a lake. I also had to laugh because he shared how he understood why I kept saying how Lake Erie is a lake--a real lake. While with the North Park Lake in the Pittsburgh area, it's like you want to pinch its cheeks and with a gentle laugh say, "Aren't you so cute, trying to be a lake?" I grew up near water and I think that is going to be a requirement for me--to live by some form of water. It is just so calming to me.
On Easter Sunday, RJ suggested we go to church in our neighborhood. I was glad that I went and found a familiar sense of peace being in the space. For whatever reason, I find comfort in sitting in a church. I also appreciated RJ's reverence and respect during the service, not that I expected anything different from him. He is a good guy.
I have not been to church in a while, mostly because I am having a difficult time with whole annulment process. It just feels so invasive and unnecessarily lengthy considering how I have purposefully sought help in healing in other ways. I have a difficult time with the concept of having to prove that I should not have gotten married in the first place--because given all that I knew then and how I felt, I honestly do not think I would have changed my mind. But the Catholic church does have a caveat that if the other person steps outside of the commitment of marriage, that it is grounds for an annulment for the wronged spouse. Unfortunately, there is no check box to indicate that and skip having to write out all of the miserable details at length for some group of strangers to read and discuss and judge you on if they think your relationship was messed up from the beginning for it to be better if it had never existed.
After mass, we went to his grandma's house and had dinner with RJ's mother's family. It was very nice of his family to share in their Easter tradition of painting Easter Eggs using traditional Ukrainian wax, tools and dyes. His aunt also made this amazing sweet bread that I think uses sour cream and then you top it with butter, cream cheese or horseradish. Yum! I also appreciated how after dinner, his family sat around the dining room table and talked and shared stories as a group. It reminds me a lot of how my mom's side of the family spends time together.