Traveling alone with the kids was not something I was terribly excited about. I assumed the worst - delayed flights, feisty little people that I must claim as my own pulling at my ankles, lost items, missed trains, dented rental cars. You name it, I assumed it was going to happen. But it didn't. We actually had a perfectly lovely trip. I can't call it a vacation. A vacation is when you go away and relax for a few days and need not worry about your duties or life at home. A trip is when you TRY to do those things, but the kids that tagged along keep reminding you that there is never a vacation for parents! Visiting familiar things and faces in DC was far less tragic than during the holiday season, with fewer tears and happier send-offs. The kids were on their best behavior for travel, staying put in lines when asked, keeping peaceful on the plane, and going with the flow when things required a bit of patience. I was very proud of us. And there was much patience needed, as we literally bounced around from home to home, staying different nights with different people in order to see everyone and do what we wanted to do. I actually am not interested in doing that again. The next time we come all of the way across the country, we are staying put in one location and people will just have to come to us. That only seems fair.
|With Auntie Emma in NJ at the Turtle Back Zoo parakeet enclosure|
|With Grandma Gloria at Dutch Wonderland|
|Tackling Auntie Joyce...as usual|
|Loving each other for the moment|
Two weeks in the DC area, with weekend trips to Amish country and New Jersey to see more family, and I was ready for a semi-permanent home in Atlanta for three weeks. I can't believe I was looking forward to spending time with the in-laws! True confessions, I think it was easier being with them than with my own family. In Atlanta, I no longer was responsible for all of the driving, all of the meals, all of the activity-planning, all of the entertaining. More often than not, the grandparents or Uncle Jared were ready and willing to feed them breakfast first thing in the morning, watch tv shows with them, take them out for several hours of the day, or your name it. Time in Atlanta was never hectic or hurried, characterized by lots of lazy pool days, evening trips for ice cream, and late nights catching fireflies. We even "enjoyed" the power outage caused by the stunning thunderstorm one evening. I had time to read a book, take a run around the lake, go shopping, and catch up on the last season of West Wing (yes - I was just a few years behind but its just as good no matter when you watch it!!)
|With Uncle Jared on top of Stone Mountain|
As for sewing, I bailed on the last few Project Run and Play challenges simply because I knew I wouldn't have the time or access to everything I would need for them. But I do have a sewing machine in Atlanta and I did get a chance to use it. Dear Grandpa Carl shared his office with me for the weeks I was visiting so that I would have a comfortable place to sew. I brought a few unfinished projects from home. I attempted (and failed) at sewing myself a knit dress. I hate knit, even more so now that I know I can't sew with it. I cut two sundresses for myself, and they have now become my latest "unfinished projects", destined to sit on my sewing table here at home for a minimum of 2 months.
We did get a chance to see Pixar's latest creation, Inside Out. It is the story of Riley, a little girl who moves to San Francisco and has to deal with all sorts of emotions as she confronts new challenges. We get a glimpse inside her head, getting to know Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger as independent "people" who pull the triggers to make Riley respond to the outside world. It was way over the heads of my little ones, but they still enjoyed it. I adored this movie. I could relate to absolutely everything that Riley was going through. And I attached myself to Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler. She was hilarious. I cried through most of it, even the funny scenes, because I felt like the people at Pixar nailed it. They captured, in one silly little movie, all that has become of me and this transition to a new place. I was stunned at the accuracy, scene after scene. And I was so thankful, because I felt like others who couldn't understand how I felt could now get a clear picture. No more "oh, she is just being dramatic" or "its not really that bad" stuff. Someone could see the movie and then say to me "wow....I had no idea what you were going through", which is really what I've wanted folks to say all along, I guess. I was a bit melancholy after the film and I grieved a bit all over again for what we lost, but I hopped on the plane and came back home to California, happy to reconnect with friends, happy to greet the morning clouds, happy to be in my new space.
I decided that I just need to embrace all of the emotions, and remember that Joy is always with me - though significantly less vocal and present than the other emotions, it seems. Well, that's not entirely fair to say. I have found much Joy, especially this summer: gossiping with my sisters at the dinner table, embracing dear friends and recounting the events since I have been gone, laughing with my son on a roller coaster, watching my daughter tackle her first Lego set, and independently creating a summer vacation full of great memories. I have Joy. And even back here in California already, I found much Joy reuniting with new friends, and watching my kids do the same. I haven't lost her. I guess I just need to remind myself that she is always with me, even during the harder times. My "Summer of Joy" will continue. We just returned from a weekend getaway to Vegas - a REAL vacation without the kids. And soon we will head off to Hawaii. If I can't find Joy there, I must not be looking hard enough!! I'm so happy (or should I say joyful) our trip went well. I'm excited about our other trips to come. And I thank you, Joy, for sticking with me through it all.