wcw – meeting myself in the world

“Travel far enough, you meet yourself.”

– David Mitchell

Travel is one of life’s truest teachers.  When I step out of my world and into the space around me I’m free – I let go of my day to day and open myself up to the possibilities.  It’s a chance to see the world for what it really is instead of its portrayal in magazines, news stories, or Facebook.

It’s when I find space in my heart for the truth that I finally meet myself.

wcw – the beauty of coming back

“Why do you go away?  So that you can come back.  So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors.  And the people there see you differently, too.  Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

– Terry Pratchett

falcons, iguanas, hummingbirds and more

You don’t know the true meaning of togetherness until you’ve shared one bathroom among a family of four for the week.  Two adults, two tweens.  Two girls, two guys.  Two exhausted parents, two overexcited and volatile kids.  Just…yikes.  (Yes, I get that this is a particularly first world statement, but it opens today’s post so let’s run with it.)

Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled to be away on vacation after Christmas.  After the ups and downs of December I needed space to clear my head and renew my spirit.  Sure, there was an art to juggling the bathroom and shower schedule, but it was totally worth it.  The days were beautiful, I ate delicious food (and didn’t have to cook a single bit of it), and I read an entire book.  That’s right, you heard me – an. entire. book.  I can’t remember the last time I did that which, when you think about it, is pretty piss poor sad for a writer.

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crack of dawn Christmas 2016

I went down for the count on Christmas day.

Christmas Eve was one of those nights when I woke up several times after midnight, not from excitement about the next morning but because I was trying to find a comfortable (enough) position.  By 5:00am I was lying in bed, staring at the dark ceiling and trying to pinpoint exactly what was wrong.  By 5:30am I was hacking up a lung (Feliz Navidad!), so I quickly slipped out of the room.

At 6:00am T-man found me trying to cough silently at the kitchen table.  This involves a great deal of contained barking and sputtering and shaking – it isn’t pretty.  I guess T-man figured this was as good a time as any to shoot the breeze, the dogs heard him and went nuts in the bedroom, BrightSide stumbled into the hallway as the mutts scrambled to race him out, and the next thing I knew T-man was hollering upstairs, “BEAR!  Come on down!  Everyone’s awake and ready to open presents!!”

Which is how “I think I’m dying” turned into crack of dawn Christmas 2016.

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keep those old people cooties out

Cue the really, really old person flashback.

I was born in the 70s, the age of banana seat bicycles and bell bottoms and Buck Rogers.  Just hanging out with my friends was a good time.  Getting to fix my hair with a curling iron so it feathered away from my face made me feel like a supermodel, and bell bottoms were the bomb.

It didn’t take much to make me feel like I was living the good life.

We work hard to keep our kids grounded, but we’re visiting someplace that has a teens club.  It’s not the concept itself I object to, but this particular teens club rivals any nightclub offered in the city.  Sound booths with gaming consoles, an air hockey table, a lit up dance floor with tv screens for videos and karaoke, plus a bar for sodas and snacks.  Add in neon and motorcycles and generally cool decor and you’ve got a tween/teen’s dream.

I’m sorry, what?!  I mean, you’re already living the high life because your parents let you out from underneath their thumbs…do you really need reverberating bass to feel like you’re partying the night away?  Apparently the answer to that question is yes, because that’s what they’ve designed here.  To be fair, if I was a kid I’d totally want to spend time in there, too.

But I’m, you know, old and stuff.  So I have to pretend to admire it from a distance so I don’t give it the mom cooties from too much gushing.

But dang…talk about a killer lounge area.  Sheesh.

gratitude: 24/7 mother/daughter time

I’ve written about the fifth grade field trip to D.C. a few times, but I don’t know that I got to the heart of it yet.  Sure it was cold and exhausting, with days as long as the IRS tax code, and there were moments of pure pain when my back decided to act up.

And yet…

It occurs to me that I haven’t had that sort of one on one time with Bear or T-man since, well, ever.  Last year BrightSide took T-man to D.C. so technically it was just us girls at home, but we were going about our regular lives.  There’s nothing like traveling together to really get to know someone.

Bear and I spent every waking (and sleeping) moment together from 6:30 Sunday morning to 11:45 Tuesday night.  Just me and her (and a hundred other people or so), no buffer zone, nowhere to hide.  And it turns out my daughter – my very hormonal, somewhat unpredictable, sweet natured and smart daughter – is a lot of fun to hang out with.

Not only did I get to see her hanging out with her friends but she got to see me hanging out with other parents, listening in as I shifted into adult mode.  I got to see how she’s affected by the social dynamic in her grade, how her behavior shifts based on who she’s around, and she noticed the same sort of things about me.

But most of all, we were in it together.  We could complain and be miserable or we could joke around and have fun; we chose the latter, and our travel experience was richer for it.

It’s easy for me to recognize how I see Bear differently now.  Lucky for me, she was kind enough to clue BrightSide in from her perspective.  Sometime last week she turned to him and said, “You know who I’d want to spend a whole day with?  Gem.  But also mom.  She’s really funny, you know.”


My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.