Standing Safely in the Steps of Another Person’s Horror

Barcelona El Prat Airport, February 2015

Barcelona El Prat Airport, February 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015, I traveled, along with Kyle, Eli, and my lovely and long-time friend Emily, from Rome to Barcelona, landing of course in Barcelona’s El Prat Airport. We flew a low-cost European carrier, Iberian owned, Vueling Airlines. As my boys correct me, “Mom, it is Welling, not Vueling,” I picture myself in a SNL sketch dressed as a circa 1983 lip-glossed flight attendant, with an Eastern-European-looking fur hat firmly attached to my big 1980’s hair.  In my mind, I begin speaking, and as the words escape, earnestly I replace the v’s with w’s.  “Thank you for flying, “Welling.”  I giggle out loud as I imagine my arms waving. Directing passengers to their seats I continue,  “We are wery happy you are flying with us.” Smacking my lip-glossed lips together I conclude, “Buckle up!  Now we fly you to wisit your willage. Ahoy!”

Dave, Kyle, Eli and I travel as much as possible.  I have mentioned our travel addiction before. When we are not day tripping, we are road tripping, and when we are not road tripping, we are flying. I am often asked “are you ever home?” And honestly, I do not know how to respond. When I do (depending on my mood), I answer with a warm laugh, maybe an eye roll, or by uttering the familiar cliché, “home is where the heart is.” In all seriousness, that is what I believe.  My home is wherever Dave and the boys happen to be.  Our life is nuts. It always has been. A life of travel compliments our insanity, and consequently our money, credit card points, and every free second is directed toward adventure. Most importantly, travel pushes us out of our familiar and constantly teaches us how to flexibly bob, weave, and adjust to our unpredictable everyday. We are currently living in a San Francisco Bay area hotel, by the way.  Our car was broken into two days ago. Bobbing and weaving is what we do.

European travel is my current favorite. Our trip to Rome, Barcelona and Southern France is our third trip to Europe in thirteen months.

Here is how we made this trip happen. We were flying to Europe on American Airlines miles. I could get us to Rome, but not fly us out of Rome.  Last time we were in Rome, we flew out of Milan, but this time, after working the Award-Miles system, I found that there were no flights out of Milan. Instead, I found that we could fly out of either Barcelona or Paris.  I am not a fan of gloomy weather, and I knew Paris in February was cold, wet and dark. I knew Barcelona was at least ten degrees warmer and sits on the sea. We also wanted to hit the road once Dave arrived midway through our journey. I knew if Paris was anything like London, and I have been told it is, that it would be hard to get out of Paris by car. Plus, we were traveling right after the Charlie Hebdo attack. I knew my mom wanted to know we would be safe, meaning she wanted to know that we would avoid Paris. I opted for the warmer weather, easier access, and my mom’s peace of mind. It was that simple – a dice roll of pros and cons.

Flying between European countries is most economical, even cheaper and faster than taking the train (sorry to burst your bubble, Europass-backpack-romantics).  Using online forums, research, and now our personal experience, I have deduced that low-cost European carriers are the best way to get from point A to point B, if not the only way.  Most of the low-cost carriers are owned by larger airlines.  Vueling is owned by the Spain-run Iberian Airlines. Lufthansa owns Germanwings, and if a major airline does not own a low-cost carrier, and you buy your ticket through major airline, you will most likely be flown on a low-cost carrier regardless.  Along with Vueling, we have flown intra-Europe on EasyJet, Flybe, and British Airways.  In truth, I didn’t see much difference between British Airways and EasyJet, for example. Meaning on all of these airlines if you want any food or beverage, you pay for them. It seems like today on both low-cost and major airlines the flight attendants operate like sales associates, advertising their goods the entire flight, even trying to sell the passengers jewelry. Yes, jewelry.

Our Rome to Barcelona travel day was typical, which meant I would insist on early airport arrival. And here is how I would get us to the airport on time. First, I would not sleep the night before (not a wink).  I would also pack the night before (and re-packed the next morning). I would set my alarm to go off at two separate times (3:30 am and 3:45 am – done).  I  wake up before my alarm goes off (I did), only to have it go off while I was in the shower (that happened). I would second-guess my steps (always), and thus to help me unravel my second-guessing, I would constantly Skype my travel agent, Dave (done, did, and photo verification included here). Dave is a most awesome Skype back-up, by the way.  I would triple check everywhere and everyone (just ask). “Where are our boarding passes and passports?” I exclaimed! To which the boys would answer, “Mom. Look, See. They are in your hand.” Travel days never get easier.

Skype-ing with Big Daddy

Skype-ing with Big Daddy

I wanted my boys to feel safe, even though I was utterly confused (on the inside).  I arranged for a car to pick us up, which is a big deal, because I make my boys walk everywhere, or take public transportation.  At 6:55 am our car arrived, and we said goodbye to Rome, the place I like to call Disneyland-town, Italy. We drove through the city reminiscing about what a great trip it had been. Let me add this travel tip: if you need a travel companion, may I suggest my friend, Emily. Not only does she know her way around a map, she is not afraid to talk to strangers, to ask for directions, or to laugh with a group of nuns.  She can disarm a meltdown-y child, or children, as the case may be: “Hey Eli, if I am your favorite jerk, I know it means that I am part of the family.” Best part is Emily is absolutely no drama.  She did not impose a strange PMS regimen on us. We did not have to give her space to be sad, or figure out any of her moods, for that matter, because she wasn’t moody. She did not demand. She did not boss. She did not dominate, and we did not have watch her drink herself into a stupor.  She laughed when I swore, and I swore a lot. “Swear more if it helps.” She urged. She walked because we like to walk (I think she does too), and she ate gelato everyday without complaint.  High fives to you, Emily!  You will always be our Amelie [smooch]!

We arrived at the Rome Airport earlier than we needed to. We checked in our luggage, which was not necessary, even though all the online forums insisted it was. We found our way through security where I noticed we lost Emily. I looked back to see her luggage being searched. And here is another reason our travel companion rocks. “Did they take anything?” I asked as she walked back up to us. “No. They let me keep all of it.” And by all, Emily meant everything that we had left back in our Rome refrigerator. Eli heartily supports my claim as he relays the story to Dave, “Dad, she cleaned our refrigerator out.” She had a stick of butter, a half a bottle (way more than 3 ounces) of the yummy balsamic syrup, some yogurts, maybe a loaf of bread, and a selection of fruit. “Airport Security did not take any of it?” I think.

Circled in green is the infamous Balsamic Syrup

Circled in green is the infamous Balsamic Syrup

Time to get on our plane came. We were exhausted. The line was long. Emily and I stood there while the boys sat close by.  Emily and I talked about how we met all those years ago. Even though we were in college at the same time, our friendship began because we both worked as writers in high tech. We talked about the first Los Angles-based Internet World we were at together. “Remember when we sat in the hall talking?” “Yes. Vaguely.” Emily responded. “I was pregnant with Kyle and I did not know it. The only odd thing was I could not stop eating Lucky Charms.”  We laughed. The boys were standing with us again. The line moved along. We gave the gate agent our boarding passes and accompanying passports. We were moved  to a shuttle bus, not a plane.  What? On the shuttle bus we held onto our remaining luggage and waited.  Finally, they drove us to our plane. By the time we boarded our Vueling Airbus A320, the boys were literally punching each other as I simultaneously whisper-shouted (ah, the whisper-shout, a trick of all moms. I was probably death-gripping at least one of their wrists too), “Stop it! Stop!” We saw the plane was not as full as they told us it would be and thank God. I took this opportunity and quickly I pointed to one side of the aisle, “Kyle, stop talking. Sit by the window. Now! Move.” Pointing at the opposite window in the same aisle I urged, “Eli, stay. Stay by that window and do not talk! Look out the window and shut your mouth!”  Both boys complied.  Emily and I first say next to each other, and with the extra room, she moved next to Kyle so that we were positioned in the aisle seats across from each other. We took in a deep breath and then ate an apple from Emily’s refrigerator stash.  In seconds I heard snores from a sleeping Eli, and Emily and I continued to reminisce.

Our flight was quick and uneventful.

Before Emily moved to her aisle seat. Rome to Barcelona, February 2015

Before Emily moved to her aisle seat. Rome to Barcelona, February 2015

A Sleeping Easy E

A Sleeping Easy E

Life, choices, perspective, chance, are all words I have been thinking about today. I also keep asking myself, “Should I be afraid? Should I stop flying?”

Just over a month ago I stood in Barcelona’s El Prat Airport. Dave’s return flight took him from El Prat through Germany. He flew Lufthansa Airlines.  I wonder about these 149 people, 149 people who had their choice taken from them.  I am certain they could replace the words I have written here with their own. I am sure they could tell you what it is like to travel from Northern Virginia to Europe, or what it is like to be a foreign exchange student from Germany. I wonder if they thought the Barcelona airport was as weird as I did with its two very separate terminals.  Did they use the same bathroom?  Did they fall for the trick we had? And by trick I am referring to the signs that direct you past all of the stores instead of the exit? Did they find the “free” airport internet as annoying as I did? I am sure they were on Facebook, and I am certain they called a loved one to say goodbye, or “I will see you soon.”  Did they need to spend their remaining Euros like Emily did?  She bought a shirt for herself and her daughter at the airport  Desigual store. Were they nervous like I get? Or was flying easy? As many planes as I have flown in, as much turbulence as I have felt, I cannot imagine what it would be like to know that I was going to die. I can’t imagine the pain of those they left behind. I do not know them. I do not know the 149 people who died on Germanwings Flight 9525. The closest I can come to knowing them is our shared experience.  Meaning  I know the El Prat airport and I know that type of plane. These people were living their lives.  They were setting their alarms once and maybe twice.  They were late. They were early. They had dreams. They had bad days and good. I am sure of that. I have no words for them except to say that I am sorry your days were taken. I am so sorry your choice was removed, and I am very sorry you had to be afraid. No one deserves to die like you did.

One of the reasons I went to Barcelona instead of Paris is because I wanted to assure my mom that we would be safe. And we would be safe because we would be far away from the Charlie Hebdo attacks.  It is a false sense of safety, I know. None of it makes sense. The Charlie Hebdo cartoonists had their choice taken away too.  Even though there had been threats, and they had security, I bet the Charlie Hebdo people thought they were safe when they went to work that day. My guess is that these 149 people did not have to think about whether they were safer than the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists. They did not have to because facts and logic would tell us all that they were safer than an outspoken political cartoonist.  I do not know what to do with this information. Processing it hurts my head.  If I look at it one way, it would seem that none of us are safe. Another reality is that none of us should stop living.

My mom recently told me that she is afraid to fly over the ocean. I told her that I share her same fear. I also said that I make myself breathe past it. “Mom, every time I fly I am afraid. Instead of checking out or giving into the fear, I make myself pay attention. I listen to the flight attendants. I locate the exit doors, and then I remind myself that some things are out of my control.” I buckle my seatbelt, grab the hand of “my closest” family member, then the engines rev up, the plane begins to move and it takes off. All the while I remind myself to breathe.

Vueling Literature

Vueling Literature

It is not easy. Meaning, not being afraid is not easy for me. How I move past my fear is this.  If I remain afraid, I remind myself that I will not move forward. If I let my fear of flying take over, for instance, I would not have seen what I have seen. I would have never stood inside the Coliseum. I would have never been able to drive the crazy Amalfi Coast road. I would have never seen a sea turtle on a Kauai beach, or ridden on a Hong Kong funicular railroad.  The Cliffs of Mohr would be a postcard image, and Carcassonne would simply remain a board game my boys love to play. I most certainly would not have seen my dear friend try and then get a half-full bottle of balsamic syrup through the Rome airport security.  And most importantly, I would not know how well my boys, Dave and I do wherever we are. I would not know that you fight everywhere. You get tired everywhere. People are mean everywhere and people are also awesome everywhere.  I know life happens. I know accidents happen, and if I had refused to get on an airplane, or push myself out of my comfortable, I would not know a life different than my own.

Me Driving the Amalfi Coast. How crazy is that?

Me Driving the Amalfi Coast. How crazy is that?

And really, maybe that is why I travel. I want to see beyond myself and I do not want to be afraid.

I only wish being fearless and pushing personal boundaries would cancel out the fact that we also live in a world where some of the really bad and preventable things happen because of someone else’s terrible and irrevocable choices.

 

First Draft: The Measure of My Creation

On a Sea Plane

I found something.
I found something I still can do.
I can write.

Enamored, I felt it in myself: a self that has felt lonely, lost, and redundant.
An education was secondary. Eternity. Proclamations to the family, and be-ye-therefore perfects consumed my breath. Do not blame my religion. I wanted those babies. I wanted to be a mom.  In truth, in this particular crowd, not being able to have children has always made me feel “less than.”
But if I could be a mom, I would manage. I have.
Babies were hard to come by, really crazy hard to come by. Like the hard to come by where people roll their eyes and say to each other, “she is crazy. She is crazy to keep trying.” I was crazy and I could not stop.
They told me, “Beth, I could not do that. I could not handle the pain. How do you do it? Why?”

Because, and Thank God, I have Kyle and Eli. And I promise, even a teenaged Kyle and Eli [wink wink] would make you want to have one more too.
Thank God for them, thank God for them or I would have completely failed at this proclamation that somehow imprinted itself onto my DNA:
“God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth . . .”

I can still see fully formed ultrasound babies never meant to live their lives with me.

“Be quiet.” I say.
My outward sorrow is given to my friends who cannot bear children of their own.
They deserve my broken voice.

One of these friends reminded me, “Beth, you have no idea what is like. You have your boys.” She is right. I have not walked in her shoes. I have no idea. And then I wonder where I put my own pain. I wonder why I am so tenacious. I wonder if anyone has been as crazy as me. Who the hell does fertility treatments for all of those years? Who keeps trying after one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, and on and on. Lost, these babies that were not meant to be.

Every super power I thought I had, every prayer I tried to pray, and every pure act of will did not change the fact that babies get into my uterus and that is where they die.

The last fetus lived the longest when I was my oldest. My hormone levels were fantastic. My baby’s heart was beating. I could see him, yes he was a him on the ultrasound. There I saw him from across the room. I saw see his cute baby face in side profile. It was so clear. Then I noticed his ten fingers and his ten toes.   “They are all there!” I smiled. I reached for those fingers, those fingers that were inside of me. So close I thought I could touch them.

Years before, we were traveling through South Central Utah. Dave took us on a crazy dirt road between two canyons. Like A Disneyland ride we laughed, the boys said, “whoa,” we bounced, we swayed and I grabbed the “oh shit” bar. You know the one. It is on the right side of the car above the window. I grabbed it and turned my head to the back seat. There I saw Kyle, Eli and a baby, all strapped into their car seats. The baby was sitting between them. This boy, as luck would have it, was their brother. I see them touching his face. True story and I still think I have lost my mind,

Three slipped my grasp.
Two are my gift

Feeling sorry for myself does not really work. I say this because maybe you think I sound like I do. No. I worry too much what you think. Dramatic, my feelings can be dramatic and a little dark. Absolutely!

The other day while Dave and I were driving down 700 East just past the 2100 South Starbucks I felt grateful. I felt super awesomely grateful.  We were talking about what I figured out.

That was yesterday. Yesterday I thought I could write.

“I may be old, but I can still write.” I said.
Then as we drove past that Starbucks on the right and Rumbi Island Grill on the left, I continued, “I may be too old to be a doctor, but my voice it strong. I think I can write.”
“You do have a strong voice,” Dave said. “I am proud of you for making these connections.”

Happy with the love I was feeling I continued, “I am back in school again, and school is actually making sense.  I have four classes left to go before I can graduate. I am taking two of them now. I kick myself for not finishing before, but here is where I am.”

Dave encouraged me, because really what can he say? “Yes, Beth you are a total dumbass for leaving school with only one semester left.”

I continue, “School is making more sense. I am digesting the words of the poets and novelists in. I am listening to my classmates. I am listening to my teachers. I am making connections. I am seeing how my voice has a place. I am learning. I am getting better. I am excited. I feel hope.”

Before, Dave and I had this conversation I wrote my first class paper. Dave edited it and said, “Your writing has really improved. I think this deserves an A,” and then I turned my first paper in.

I thought I was a writer.
I am not.

Moments ago I looked at my grade. I read my professor’s feedback. I did not like his feedback. In fact, I cried.

Maybe it is laziness.
Maybe it is the skull fracture I had eight years ago.
Maybe I am just the person my one teacher (I took her class twice) told me I was:

“You cannot write.” She looked away and then continued, “Maybe you should go to a vocational school.”

She was my Critical Writing and Analysis teacher.
Maybe she was right.

I sound like a big baby. I feel retarded and yes, I just used the word retarded – out loud. In the true sense of the word, that is how I feel — retarded.

I thought I was a writer.
I am not.

My ego is small. It shows big. I said the dumbest thing the first day of class. When we were all introducing ourselves I said, “I am Beth,” and then I said a bunch of other stuff like how NPR’s show “Snap Judgment is awesome,” (that comment was not dumb because “Snap Judgment” really is awesome), and then, somewhere between “Snap Judgment” and snapping my mouth shut, I said, “and I used to get paid to write.”

I am an idiot.

Sure, I worked in job where I wrote stuff and was paid, but really?  I was doing that whole setting-yourself-up-to-fail-by-raising-the-expectations thing, or as I like to call it, self-sabotage.

I do not want to fail.

I just texted Dave the words, “I am stupid.” And then I said out loud and alone, “I want to quit! Why am I in school? I cannot do this again.”

Tears, snot and more tears fell. The snotty tears were reminding me how stupid this all is. Maybe I do not want to be a better writer. Maybe I need to be ok with who I am.

I am the person, who while learning to ride a bike, takes three thousand times to fall and say on three thousandth one or even two, I finally get my balance. I pedal. I ride. And I am off.

I hate it, and I feel selfish.

I hate that everything I do is like riding a bike for the first time. I hate that every time I learn a new thing, I am starting from scratch. My brain does not connect to cumulative. Damn it. It is exhausting. Please tell me that you get it. Please tell me that I am not alone. Please tell me that every time you start a new class, a new job, a new pregnancy that it is like going back to the beginning. Please.

In a genetic twist, no, not a twist, because genetics pass in a very straightforward way, well, in pure genetic-genetic-y-ness, my taking-a-million-times-to-pedal-the-damn-thing passed to one of my sons.

Kyle, our oldest, is like his dad – literally. When he was five he looked at a bicycle, walked over to it, hopped on and pedaled away.

No. I am not kidding. Ask Dave.
Just like that. Kyle got on his bike and rode the damn thing.
And I was completely blown away.
“Is he a mutant?” I exclaimed.
“Have you two been practicing behind my back?” I demanded.
“No. No, we haven’t” Dave excitedly responded.
“He just figured it out and rode.”
“That’s my boy!”
“Indeed.”

In this one area, our lovely, Eli is my genetic offspring. (I am sorry, Eli.)

Learning to ride a bike almost broke us, all of us, especially Dave.
Eli screamed, yelled, and tossed his bike aside. “I cannot do this!” He shouted. “I hate this!” He cried.  “Bikes are dumb!” He yelled. He did fall. He did get hurt, and he did scream. Then Dave anxiously exclaimed, “This is not going to work! Let’s try it again next year.”

I calmly responded, (only because after already waiting until next year I knew Eli was getting a little old), “Hey, Dave he will get it.” I could hear Dave inhale, then exhale. I could see Eli’s head drop.

“Hey Eli, you’ve got this.” I said. Putting my hand on his shoulder I continued, “Keep trying. It will be ok.” Eli kept trying. He kept falling. He kept screaming. And then one day our friend took Eli and taught him how to ride a bike. It was a gift.

She is a genius. She took him to a park. She put his bike on a large grassy field. She brought her daughter, who is one year older than Eli and also his friend. Her daughter had just learned to ride. My friend and her daughter let Eli fall, encouraged him to get up, let him fall again, and let him scream. Over and over he fell. He fell and then I got the phone call,

“HE IS RIDING! COME SEE!”

I raced over and watched Eli. He was giggling. He was falling. He was getting back up. He was riding.
“Mom, look!” He yelled as he laughed and ran over to his bike. “Watch this!” I did. I watched as he swung his leg over the bike, wobbled, gained his balance, and we all yelled, “Pedal. Pedal hard!” He did. He laughed and he pedaled hard.

I just heard back from my teacher.  Yes, I emailed him. I asked if I could re-write my paper. He said, “Yes.”
And then he said,
“The point of these analysis papers is to give you lots of practice writing so that your are prepared for your final paper.” Followed a few sentences later with, “Don’t worry about it.”

I do worry about it. I do worry.

I do not know how many more of these learning-to-ride-a-bicycle-and-falling-over-three-thousand-times experiences I have left in me. I do not know if I can. I do not know if I can figure out this new bike.

I am tired.
I am tired of trying and then each time realizing that the best I can do is almost.

 

 

 

 

Destination: Minnesota, the place of my birth.

This guy. I wish he was here.

 

After exactly nine days back in the place we currently call home, here and once again I am blogging from the road. Our bags or as I say it, “Behgs,” well, they are packed, and we are somewhere between here and there, Phoenix International Airport, to be exact. Indigestion is settling in after ingesting our overpriced airport food. I’m sitting on the floor just outside of gate A10, leaning against a poorly painted pinky-beige column, guarding the outlet we found. Kyle is sitting over at gate A12, and Eli is sitting behind me.  I cannot see him. He came over and assured me he was there, and now we communicate via text.

Blogging from Europe was not only an insane writing goal, a goal that I thought up during a Red Eye; in truth, it actually kept me sane.  While traveling through England and Ireland, instead of things getting under my skin, when I felt like screaming, I would reach for my phone and take notes. In truth the happy moments were equally motivating. Recording them assured me that I would not lose the memory of those lovely times. It worked. Now today and seeing as how Kyle, Eli and I are on our way to a family reunion, a little sanity is what I could use. I am also counting on a lot of happiness.  (Yes, it is also true. I am sure this family reunion would make a most excellent Lifetime Television movie.)

It is Day one. Between the time the Salt Lake City gate attendant scanned our boarding passes until the moment I dropped our carry-ons off for gate pick-up, the boys looked over to me and said, “Mom, we think this whole family reunion is making you a little nervous. You are not yourself.”

My boys are right. I am nervous. And as much as Kyle and Eli know I love and adore my family, the truth is my two brothers, three sisters and I have not been in the same place in fifteen years. It was October 1999. I was pregnant with Kyle. My oldest sister was getting married, and even my biological father (Will) was there.  I believe he touched my pregnant belly. Uncomfortably weird, which was exactly how things were between us.  He will not be in Minnesota, and coincidentally he currently lives in Arizona. My sister’s wedding is the last time I saw him too.

October 1999. My mom and I flew to Minnesota early. I was at the end of my you-can-fly-safely-while-pregnant window. And it is a memory that started with pregnant and frustrated tears, lots of tears.  My mom and I booked our flights late and could only get middle seats. My tiny-sized mom got her seat, and eight month pregnant me was seated in the middle of two colossal people, each using their own “extend-a-belts” that they attached to the regular airplane seat belt.  However un-cool and un-PC I was, at the sight of their individual extend-a-belts, I immediately burst into tears. I am certain they were heaving sobs. The moment the lady lifted the armrest between the two of us and said, “Do you mind if I keep this up for the flight. It just doesn’t fit,” I short-circuited. could only give her a blank stare.  I was pregnant and just as big, and had no idea how we would all fit. I jumped to my feet, waddled my way past the extend-a-belt guy, and found a flight attendant. “For the love of the three of us, please find me another seat.” I couldn’t stop crying, and he complied.

 

Day 1

  • Eli, Kyle and I are flying to MN while Dave works in San Francisco. My mom took an earlier flight. My sisters are driving in, and my other Utah brother, yes, I have a brother that lives in Utah and yes, we hardly speak, well, he flies in I don’t know when. I have one brother and one sister who live in Minnesota, the land where I am from.
  • OCD. Did I lock the truck? Did I shut the garage door? Did I start the dishwasher? Did we get the lock on the storage unit? Safety is my OCD. Where did it come from?
  • Boys know I’m stressed. They tell me so.
  • We are on the plane.
  • Taking off.
  • Kyle and Eli hold my hand.
  • We are seated in Row 22, seats, A,B and C . It is the best back row I have ever sat in.
  • Dave offered to fly out for the weekend. I felt heard. Way to go, “Big Daddy!”
  • Now listening to Sigur Ros’, “Alright.” A little Icelandic music is good for the soul.
  • Mumford and Sons is playing.”We run and scream. You will dance with me. We will fulfill our dreams and we will be free.” Turbulence. I don’t like turbulence. Pressure change. Ouch! My ears. “We will be who we are. It will heal our scar sadness. We will be far away…I will love with urgency. Not with haste.”
  • Yes, music always always connects my heart. It eases my mind.
  • Kyle us playing on his DS. Eli is watching,  “The Simpsons.”
  • Kyle has been getting into Simon & Garfunkel so I put the Concert in Central Park on my iPhone. I am glad.
  • The Acronym BFF is on Coke can I am drinking from.
  • There is a soundtrack  playing in my head, because I hear it through my headphones. Even though you may not know the melody, I hope the words connect. Now playing: Avett Brothers, The Perfect Space. “I want to have friends…that love me for the man I’ve become not the man I was…all alone is when being alone is all I need… I want to fit in [pause] to the perfect space…” Now from The Concert in Central Park, “Hello darkness my old friend…” The song makes me think of home. Singing with my sisters, sitting at the table in the back of our camper. “But my words like silent raindrops fell.”
  • Remind me to charge my iPhone.
  • 25 minutes left of the flight.
  • Ouch. Pressure. Ears.
  • Don’t tell Dave (because I always give him grief for doing the same): I gave Eli a few sips of my Coke.
  • Yes I have “Blurred Lines,” on my iPad and yes, I’m doing a little shoulder shake while I type this.
  • “It’s 98 degrees in Phoenix.” The captain says over the loudspeaker and I think of boy bands.
  • “Every time I see you falling I get down on my knees and pray.” I am so glad New Order’s “Bizarre love triangle” made it on the Shuffle.
  • We are about to land, and the cups haven’t been picked up. Oh well. We piled them onto Kyle’s tray.
  • “She keeps it simple and I am thankful for her kind of loving, because it’s simple.” Bobbing my head to the Alt country (is that what you would call them), Avett Brothers as we hear the landing gear ready itself.
  • Words do mean something, even without the melody. Although I readily admit the melody makes it much better.
  • The Avett Brothers continue, “I hope I don’t sound insane when I say that there is darkness all around us…in January, we’re getting married…it no longer matters what circumstances we were born in.”
  • Did I mention I’m taking two poetry classes in the fall?
  • And Bohemian Rhapsody shuffles on at just the right time. Freddy Mercury aptly sings us into our turbulent landing. Yes and perfect.
  • Kyle teases me when I grab his leg.
  • “Don’t mean to make you cry if I’m not back this time tomorrow. Carry on. Carry on.”
  • Hello Arizona.
  • Crazy companion fare: SLC – PHX – MSP

Touchdown

  • “Mama Mia. Mamma Mia. Let me go.”
  • Landed.
  • Airplane mode off.
  • First text shows up from our friend Kevin. It says, “yep. Breathe.” Exactly.

 

PS. Hours later.  My lifetime, BFF, Marianne,  picked the boys and I up at the airport. On the way home we stopped at my oldest sister, Brenda’s house. All six kids (and my mom) were there. We hugged. We laughed. We were awkward. We hugged some more. It was amazing. I would call this weekend a success and it is only Thursday night. So cool!

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