Saturday, March 11, 2006

Heading South

Picture I took from the back seat, driving home from the airport, during my trip to Naples last March.

It has already been a long morning and I just got out of bed. I’ve been awake since about 4:10 A.M. Chris predicted that this would happen – it always does before we go out of town. Today (in about 6 hours) we leave for Florida to spend a week with my dad. The reason that I have been awake is because I have been packing via visualization.

I am not packed. Not one suitcase is out. There are piles around. We have a snack pile on the kitchen counter along with a DVD pile.. I have a summer clothes pile for me on the floor of our bedroom. I’m pretty sure all the kids’ summer clothes are under the bottom shelf in their closet (a sort of pile) and I have some Teva’s piled by the back door. On the dining room table, we have a marker-tape-scissors-activity books-drawing paper pile. Somehow, in my little mind, I felt comfortable watching and hour and a half of “What Not to Wear” last night instead of packing. As if gaining any last minute knowledge on dressing correctly would help hide all the weight I’ve gained since right before my mom died. Ha! I don’t think straight-leg, medium-rise, dark denim jeans will hide the girth of my thighs in a bathing suit this week!!

It will all get done. It always does. And I will fall asleep in my dad’s condo tonight where the temperature will be warmer at midnight than it gets here on a warm sunny spring day. I’m excited to see my dad, but curious as to how I will be able to handle not having my mom around. In some ways it will be freeing. My mom couldn’t enjoy my kids the last year. They were too loud and raucous for her. This trip they will be able to run and play pretty freely. (I will probably just have to shush them during “The McNeil-Lehrer Report” – one of my dad’s favorite PBS business shows.) But in most ways it will be another transition. She won’t be there to greet me at the airport, and wait for my luggage as my dad circles to avoid parking fees, as she has done for years. That first hug, that I always had to stoop over for, was actually one of the highlights of all of my visits. She would be waiting for me, upstairs right on the edge of security, in a sea of a million other retirees, smiling so big that her eyes were almost shut. Her lipstick was always bright coral and she usually had on a classy straw hat of some sort. It was my sign that she was relaxed and at peace in one of her favorite places.

Hopefully that’s how she feels right now. I miss her desperately.

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