Twists and turns

It seems as though I am always conflicted when I finish spending a longer period of time with those close to me. 
I go into these gatherings with such high hopes, and come home to my solitary nest to question myself, the interactions I had with those I love, and how the visits and get togethers went. 
It happened on this most recent trip to see my parents, family, and friends. 
I think I am expecting to be someone I am not… I always picture myself catching up with everyone, and spending time in conversation with those I love. 
And yet, most visits? I find myself happily helping my mother in the kitchen, keeping out of the main rooms and the primary conversations. I am rarely asked about my job and my life and I wonder whether my physical absence precludes people asking when I am present. I ask about their lives, though, so… perhaps I’m taking the easy way out and shifting the focus to them? (The classic introvert way of deflecting attention…?) 
I don’t know if this bothers me, or if I’m just painting a picture in my head of how family visits “should” be (how I came up with that, I don’t know…). 
And this feeds into my perception of these trips. Should I have been more interactive? Should I have left my mom to her own devices and forced myself to interact more? I don’t really want to… but would it help me think back more positively on the trip and the time I spent with people? 
Or is it enough that I hear about their lives, see them, reassure myself that they are well and doing well in life? 
I don’t know, but I also know that I haven’t changed in many, many years, and there’s no reason to think I am going to change now. So perhaps it’s a matter of shifting my preconceived notions of what these trips should be like…knowing that I don’t want to be the center of attention (talk about worst nightmares!) and that my life is not a movie? 
Another post with no conclusion, but writing this out has helped me see that maybe it’s not me… it’s how I am thinking about these visits, trips, and interactions. 

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