Wednesday, September 04, 2019

after the trip

It just so happened that I returned from our vacation to a a fast paced day. That's not a perfect way to reenter routine life, but it could not be helped.

Ed flew into Madison close to midnight, and by 5 in the morning we were getting ready to head out for his eye surgery. He had picked a hospital in another town and that seemed not such a big deal when we initially talked about it, but today, it was a bit chaotic. I drove him there, then hurried back, because tradition has it that I am there to take a photo of Snowdrop's "first day of school." Of course, any number of people are perfectly capable of doing this as well, but I enjoy this ritual and besides, I wanted to use the early morning to at least do a mini grocery shopping. Ed does clear out the refrigerator when I'm away.

If I'm tired, I imagine the kids are equally worn out after the long day of travel. But, they're young and resilient. This morning, they seem happy to plunge into their routines with their usual zip and zest. (Sparrow starts school in October and so he is home with a sitter while the parents return to work.) Here is Snowdrop, ready to run up to her classroom and greet her friends (she spoke of them constantly during our travels, which was delightful, since after a day in school, she is often quiet about the details of her day).

("first day of school")

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Immediately after, I return to the distant hospital to pick up Ed.

 (along the way...)

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We eat breakfast close to noon!

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It's a cool day and I spend not a whole lot of time outside. The garden looks autumnal, but I wont post pictures of it just yet. I haven't really inspected it much. There hasn't been time.

I do hang out for a few minutes with the kittens. The littlest ones are adorable -- especially the scrawny one who alternates between wanting to climb up my leg and chasing Mama Dance around, trying to still get that last bit of milk out of her. Ed tells me he has seen all the cats -- including her half siblings, snuggle up to her for milk. Talk about familial closeness!

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In the afternoon, I pick up Snowdrop.

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We read three chapter books in close to two hours! I could not have indulged this during our travels. Today, she more than made up for it. (Afterwards, she constructed elaborate setups with her various characters and legos. They had elements of the present and of places she had traveled to this summer.)

Evening. Sleepy, after a busy set of days. But have I been so preoccupied with life's demands upon my return, that the trip is now no more than a vague memory? No, that surely isn't the case. A travel moment will flash in my mind and I'll let it stay there as I reflect on its significance. The garden walks in Paris, the museum visits. Eating meals in restaurants, with kids, in that formidable culinary capital. The secret cove in Brittany, the delicious seafoods, the ever popular pizzas. Oceanopolis! And that grand old city with the young vibe -- Amsterdam, with the crazy bicycles, the comfy trams and my absolutely beloved little hotel by the canal!

How about the more challenging moments? Do I think about them now? They do come back, but at this point, I just smile at the ridiculousness of the situation! Carrying Sparrow (who is at this point too heavy for anyone, let alone gogs!) around the museum, so that Snowdrop could revel in the Impressionists... Uff! The sleepless nights in Paris, possibly because of the street traffic, but more likely because jet lag going to Europe always hits me hard. Uff! Dragging suitcases to the train station! Uff! A squirmy child on a long train ride, too much sand coming in with us from the beach (so much sweeping!), a disappointing crepe meal, and even more disappointing -- restaurant closures by the sea. The broken stroller in Amsterdam -- yes, all these funny, ridiculous details that make for such a rich experience!

But now, of course, we are home and September is rapidly moving ahead, reminding us that life doesn't let you rest within the embrace of memories. You go forward, a bit dazed still, but so enriched, and at the same time ready to plunge into the next season, and the next set of adventures.