11 April 2011

Time Together, Time Apart

This is the Gulf of Mexico. It is across the street from where my mother lives in Florida. One, Mom, and I spent a few hours there, enjoying the warmth and the wildlife. Although Mom's pulmonary fibrosis makes it difficult for her to walk anywhere, she was game to go and sit on the beach. We took our time, and made it over the dune, so I could watch One in the water. Which was a bit chilly. Not Atlantic Ocean teeth-chattering cold, but not Gulf bathtub warm, either. I didn't go in. Instead, I made a dedicated effort to tan. Which means I have more freckles now, and a reddish triangle on my chest.

We spent the week focusing on all the things that make One happy. He just turned eighteen, and the trip was his birthday present. One hasn't been on a plane since the world turned upside down in 2001. He doesn't have a driver's license, so we had to get him a government issued I.D. I  had prepped him for all the security requirements, but forgot the simple things, like escalators. It was impossible for him to make it down, when his good hand was pulling his carry-on suitcase. When we landed in Tampa, I found the elevators instead.

We visited Myakka State Park, which is forest, plains, and lakes. There were herons, pelicans, egrets, and diving cormorants. We saw alligators and an armadillo. More lizards than can be counted or caught crossed our path on one of the nature trails, and an adorable orange snake slithered past as we left. It was One's vision of Heaven.

Each day, I wrote a little more of the book, sometimes while sitting on the front porch, enjoying the scent of jasmine carried on the evening breeze. Each night, we ate Pappou's homemade ice cream. And when I climbed into bed, I read until I fell asleep. My version of Heaven.

When it was time to leave, I hugged my mother good-bye, for now. She will return to New Jersey in June. I know she feels the passing of time more acutely. But there is a part of me that doesn't want to give these days any more weight than all the ones that have preceded them. Each day, year, decade she has been my mother has been a gift, and I don't need her to tell me, now, how much she loves me, because I've lived that all my life. There is no unfinished business. Just living.

The Captain and the little boys came to meet us at the airport. It was late, but they were so excited, they unbuckled to give me kisses. They talked and  talked, and so did I, until Five said, "Mom sounds like she's had a whole box of coffee!", which made me laugh. Every so often Four would proclaim, "I love you, Mom!" and then diplomatically add, "And you, Dad!" because their week had been pretty great, too.

I was delighted to see them, and when we got home I couldn't wait to climb in their bed and snuggle. I contorted my body to accommodate hand-holding on one side, and head-resting on the other. I lay awake in the dark, smiling. And I understood my mother a little more. The time away was wonderful, but I was happy to be back with my boys. Just living.


  1. Anonymous11.4.11

    You got it just right. Glad it was paradise, but also glad you are safely home.


  2. Anonymous11.4.11

    Sounds like it was a fabulous trip, glad you all had a good time and each got to experience some Heaven :-)
    Oh, and you've posted one of the paragraphs twice, 'When it was time to leave...'

  3. This was beautiful. I'm glad that One got to experience his idea of Heaven. Especially while he's your child, before he becomes your grown-up child.

    How wonderful that you had a whole army of boys (including the Captain) who loved you and were demonstrably happy to have you home.

    I've missed your blogging. I look forward to your book, whenever you share bits or it is published.

  4. I thought it was a sweet Freudian slip that you accidentally doubled the paragraph about not wanting to give these days any extra weight. :-)

    Glad you had a well earned rest, and nice fella to watch the homestead while you were out.

  5. Thank you, my early readers! I can't claim credit for the sweet Freudian slip. The blog was having trouble saving as I wrote, which is just disaster waiting to happen. I decided to save it in a separate folder, and pasted something wrong, I suppose. Maybe the blog gremlins are sentimental...

    If you all don't mind, can you have a good thought today for our friend Jane, and my cousin, Bobbi? Each is undergoing a medical procedure, and could use some sparkly positive vibes. Thanks!

  6. This was beautiful, Megan. And I'm so glad that One was able to enjoy the peaceful time with nature on his terms. I am now looking forward to the paradise you enjoyed even more [8 days]... Love the picture-- makes the anticipation palpable.

    Thoughts and prayers for Jane & Bobbi :)

  7. Lovely!

    You were greatly missed but I SQUEEEE at the thought of your book progress b/c that means it's one step closer to my bookshelf!

  8. Lovely, Megan. I'm so happy you had a nice time and made some writing progress. It sounds like it was a wonderful week.

    Sending some FGBVs of the shiny, sparkly variety to your friends.

  9. Welcome back!!! I THINK you had a good enough time to justify abandoning the blog. ;) Maybe.

  10. @Skye and Lora: Will you accept the book in a three-ring binder? I've still a way to go before it's finished!

    @Carrie: before I left, the Captain reminded me that I should do what I wanted-the novel, the blog, or both. Ultimately,it was my inability to fail Five from such a distance that made me go with the novel. What would the blog be like, without my failures? Next time I vacation, I'll act like a real blogger, and write ahead.


Thanks for reading! Unlike other Diaries, this one isn't private. Feel free to share your thoughts. Politely, of course.