Thursday, November 15, 2012

Home Again

Well, I've been slacking on my writing and wanting to finish the story about my weekend trip to New York before tackling my next posts. So, I'll wrap up my weekend trip:

On Friday, I had to drop off E at my sister's day care and work the morning. I had hoped to work from my parents' house where it'd be quiet, but their Internet service was out. So was my sister's. My mom called me from her office at the high school and asked if I wanted to bring my laptop and work there. That sounded like the perfect solution. I drove across town and into the school parking lot.

The night before, E had woken up almost every hour. The broken hours of sleep I got were plagued with weird dreams. In the most vivid, Ellie, Mark, and I were floating above my parents' house, being pulled toward the sky. We landed on a platform and an alien woman gestured to a large door. We had to make a decision to stay on Earth or transport to a new planet. Other families were being brought through the door and disappearing with a bright flash of blue light. Mark and I discussed our options and decided that we didn't trust the blue light -- that it was more likely to disintegrate us than transport us to a new planet. We opted to stay on Earth, and a ramp descended for us.

I woke up in a daze which stayed with me all day. It was like the dream never ended, and being back in my old high school wasn't helping me snap back to reality. To add to the illusion, a guy I graduated high school with is my mom's boss. They work in food management for the city schools, so I could hear him on the phone making deals with cheese suppliers.

I blinked my eyes a few times. Yep, definitely awake. He covered my lunch for me -- from the school cafeteria, and I sat in the break room that hadn't changed in 12 years, eating my school lunch. Class let out, and I could hear the buzz of excitement outside in the hallway. I heard a muffled yell from one of the kids, "I'm Hitler!! AHH!!!"

I blinked again. Yep, still awake. I got a text from my sister that E was doing fine. I asked my mom if I could use the restroom before heading out. She gave me the key to the faculty bathroom. It was upstairs, next door to my 6th grade science classroom. On my way back out, I went to wash my hands, but there was no sink. There was a counter where a sink should be... but no sink. I blinked again. On the other side of the bathroom I spotted a stand-alone sink separate from the counter. I washed my hands and left.

The rest of the weekend was fairly normal, so let me run through the highlights:

On Saturday we went shopping with my nieces: Julia (5) and Emma (8). They were fun to shop with. We checked out the makeup first. I found a great shade (peach parfait) lip butter by Revlon -- my favorite lipstick! It was on display next to a picture of Emma Stone who is beautiful! I decided to buy it and tried it on when I got back to my sister's house. I asked Emma and Julia, "So, what do you think? Do I look like Emma Stone? My niece, Emma, said "Um... Yeah, well, except for your hair." Julia studied me closely then said, in all seriousness, "Yeah! Except for your face."

On Sunday, we celebrated my dad's birthday with a spaghetti dinner, cake, cookies, and ice cream. It was great to all be together as a family at home.

On Monday morning, I brought E back to my sister's house for day care. I walked her over in her stroller -- on all the sidewalks I played on as a child, over the same cracks and bumps that I remembered. I couldn't believe it had been 20 years since I had pushed my doll stroller over the same sidewalk imperfections. I remembered how the concrete tilted under my feet and how my bike wheels dipped into each groove. It was so surreal.

In the evenings, Mom sang E songs that she had sung to me as a baby. We harmonized a pretty version of My Bonnie to put E to sleep and stayed up late looking through old photos found in my grandparents' house after they passed away.

Dad told me a story about how, a few weeks ago, he was having trouble moving the furniture around on the carpet in their apartment. That week he had a dream that he was at my grandparents' old house, and Grandpa was pointing to a box on the floor in his bedroom closet. My Dad later went to the house, and there was a box there. He opened it and in it found carpet gliders for moving furniture.

We talked about death, life, parenthood, shared ghost stories and speculated about the future.

On Monday afternoon, E and I headed back to Vermont. She did great. The only time she cried was on the ferry, and I have to admit that experience was a little scary for me as well. We boarded at about 5:00 in the evening, after dark, and the water was so rough. Everything was black, though you could make out the horizon line from faint lights shining on the shore. As the ferry tipped back and forth, it made metallic creaks and bangs. I tried to focus on the horizon line, but the boat was tipping so much, it would disappear on each side every time the boat dipped. It was disorienting. Waves crashed into the front of the ferry and splashed loudly over our windshield.

E started to cry, and the only song I could think to sing was, "Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream." It worked, for both of us, and I know that this is a big part of what being a mom is about -- throwing yourself into new situations, doing everything you can to make it work, and pretending everything is okay for her (and me too sometimes) until it is, until the next time it isn't. And I felt like a superhero, in a way. I turned a scary journey on a big ship into a gentle boat ride down a stream. Anxiety conquered!

For now...

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