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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