England & Ireland, Day 7: Let it Go!

Us at the Fountain Inn, Wales


Traveling is an interesting bag. In many ways it feels like running a marathon. It’s uncomfortable, it is inconvenient, and traffic takes so much longer than you plan.  Tight quarters enable some really fantastic and really pointless arguments. Long car rides make people squirrely, and working insanely (yes, correct adjective) hard to meet the demands of Team, “I want to see castles with painted ceilings,” versus Team, “I want to see the city and the Dr. Marten store,” is challenging, to say the least.

We are close to mid-way through our trip and today we hit a wall. I know Day five was a tough one, and it has been a little rocky ever since. I am crossing my fingers that today we broke through. I am averaging about five hours of sleep each night, and as the family glue, five hours is barely holding me together.

This morning, I screamed. I cried. I swore – a lot. Then everyone else seemed to fall a part.  We could not think straight and I could not get out the door. By noon we were on our way. Grandma asked to be left behind, and by the time we came to get her, she thought we may have forgotten her. Confusing. Traveling creates confusing communication.

Earlier today, Dave, the boys and I landed in the Forest of Dean. We saw a gaggle of Peregrine Falcon bird watchers as Eli lost it. Eli is amazing, that kid. In that moment, he had it. Dave pulled him aside. They sat on a bench and talked for a very long time. We started walking the long way down to the river, and I talked to him. He was an angry cat hissing and mad. He is tired. He is out of his comfort zone. He does not comprehend his grandma. The two of them fight like two years olds. He lost it and somehow in this moment of losing it, he helped us all reconnect. Thank God for that amazing boy. I love my son.

Backing up a second. When I was melting down this morning, I reminded Dave, “Hey, I am flexible. This may not be where I want to be, but I can make it work. I just need some encouragement. Damn it, I need a cheerleader!” I’ve said this to Dave before and in this crazy moment I could see again that my words were not connecting.

When Eli lost it, I decided to be a cheerleader for Eli. Honestly, I wasn’t even thinking about Dave and what I had said. When Eli firmly stated, “I want to go home – now,” I knew that going home was not possible. I did know, however, that I could support him. I needed to cheer my boy on and so I did. I listened. I asked. I heard how mad he was. I was annoyed to, but it wasn’t about me. I am the mom and in this moment that is what I needed to be. We spent the next few hours hiking, hearing how much we suck, and mostly high-fiving Eli and of course, Kyle, on.  “Yes, Eli, you can have that Kit-Kat, and I am not ashamed to bribe you for your love wink, wink.” Yes, I also said, “wink, wink.” Eli has a wicked sense of humor. It had nothing to do with me giving him treats, or buying his love.  It was all about the fact that I heard him. I heard him. Instead of letting him think our trip was a failure, I kept thinking, “how can I help him push through?”

Hey, even I have wanted to fly home or cut and uncomfortable trip short. This will not be the only time in his life than things will be less than comfortable. This will not be the only time that grandma gives him a hard time about how much ice cream he took on a shared dessert. You know, she likes her dessert. How can we push through? I know what works for me. It is simple. It is just knowing someone is there, and that someone knows I am there too. They see me.  They hear me. Does that make sense?

And now for today’s bullet points:

  • Morning: I need someone I can talk to
  • I need a friend, another woman I can talk too.
  • Past the white line (Ok. I can’t remember what I was talking about except maybe the road?)
  • Crying third day in a row
  • The Forest of Dean
  • Listening to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
  • Inside jokes and knowing glances with Kyle
  • One of these days I need to get some sleep.
  • Bucolic to our hearts content.
  • Markus, where are you? Biggest collection of bird watchers we have ever encountered looking for Peregrine falcons.
  • So many tough days.
  • Eli very upset.
  • Lessons learned as a parent
  • Can we buy your love for 70 pence?  — that is what we said to the boys after we bought them an ice cream cone.
  • Footbridge to Wales (we wanted to cross, but didn’t want to take the time.)
  • Sometimes skirting the border of Wales, “Blurred Lines,” is the perfect song.
  • Goodrich Castle = good times, really good times.
  • Finally music SINGING MUSIC OUT loud. I Love singing with the boys. Awesomeness! Joni Mitchell – “A Case of You.” Dave can’t refuse singing.
  • On the way to Tintern Abbey. The road smells like onions, and now BBQ.
  • For a few minutes Eli and I lost Grandma, Dad, and Kyle.
  • “Grand Budapest Hotel” playing tonight in the Tintern Village Hall.
  • Being here feels like meeting a celebrity or sitting in the from row of the theater. The Abbey is stunning, but no longer trapped in the mind of my imagination.
  • Fountain Inn, Wales – Love. We ate outside. The owner took our order. His wife cooked our lovely meals. (lots of lovelies), and they grow their own food. Ok and I think everyone in the tiny town eats there.
  • Dessert craziness. We be getting a little territorial with the ice cream. And I cannot tell you what happened next. It is a secret blood oath Dave and I will always share together.
  • “Munchies” the dog or at least that what I think his name is, had a basket on his face and was running all over Fountain Inn Restaurant.
  • Ok about the small town UK roads. Several times today I thought we were going to get hit head-on, by say, a giant Range Rover. It has not happened yet, but totally crazy.