Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Maybe you can go home again


My vacation has drawn to a close. "The Girl Trip," as my daughter called it. Ten days of mother-daughter togetherness which were, believe it or not, downright relaxing. And Oklahoma, it's definitely growing on me . . . if only they'd do something about the wind, for crap's sake.

It took me a while to adjust to the idea of my parents living somewhere other than Northern Virginia. I'm like a cat - don't even move the couch an inch or I'll have a panic attack. You'll recall that I whipped up a fair amount of angst over their decision to leave the old house and move to Oklahoma. I still have the old house key on my keyring. I cannot bring myself to remove it.

Slowly but surely, though, I've adjusted to the change. This vacation was generally very relaxing. I found time to write. I finished one book (Izzy and Lenore by Jon Katz) and tucked into another (The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion). I took a lot of long baths, closing my eyes and sinking into the old but marvelously deep tub, whose faucet carried a seemingly endless supply of hot water. Outside the bathroom door, I could hear my mom and my daughter playing "Rhino's Rampage" and reading stories together. My mom dug out some old books that belonged to my youngest sister. Fraggle Rock (with those hard-working Dozers), the Care Bears, and The Diggingest Dog . . . all just as we'd left them years ago.

Eventually I realized that the new house in a different state isn't so foreign to me after all. Same stuff, different house. Memories intact. My mom showed A a photo of me at nine months and my daughter was both delighted and mystified. She still cannot believe her dad and I existed before she was born. I opened a kitchen cabinet to find a green mixing bowl that has been around since before I was a twinkle in anybody's eye. My mother made chili and fudge during our visit, both tasting precisely the same as they did three decades ago. Mom still watches goofy old musicals, but on a flat-screen TV now. It must be a matter of some disappointment to her that her three daughters have failed to find the magic in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers."

I realize I am fortunate that I come from a family whose members get along. I chat with my mother and my sisters multiple times a week. I have no cause to shake my fist at perceived slights. I have long battled several medical issues that caused my childhood to be less than idyllic, but this was no fault of my parents. As a family we had at least our fair share of hardships both great and small. But still, we all get along. We fancy ourselves a clever lot, able to dish it out AND to take it.

During our visit, the kid and I also got to spend a lot of time with my sister (A's "Aunt Craggy"), her two sons, and her husband. We visited their hobby farm, affectionately known as "Dammit Farms" (so named because something always seems to be going wrong). My one-year-old nephew bid me adieu with an open-mouthed kiss, as only a baby can. I slept until nearly 9 a.m. most mornings. Normally I am already on my mid-morning snack at work by 9 a.m.

The relaxation came to an abrupt halt at O'Hare, when my little cherub threw herself on the floor in front of the massive panel of arrival/departure monitors. If there's anything that will snap you out of your vacation-induced reverie, it's a four-year-old shrieking, "I DON'T WANNA WALK ANYMORE YOU HAVE TO BUY A CART CARRY ME I WANT ICE CREAM YOU ARE MEAN!"

This is why, when I turned her over to her dad a few hours later, I made my usual post-girl-trip declaration: "Congratulations, Mr. M! It's a girl!"

1 comment:

Poosha Kasha said...

This blog did my heart good. I'm delighted you had such a nice time, because I had an equally nice time having the two of you in the house. I love you so much.
Mom