They are marching …one by one and two by two. Some are scouting others are reporting but they are all on the road. They mock our diligence and cleanliness and to our dismay new cities spring up in some of the most unlikeliest of places. We have been fighting the good fight for days and even now as I squash them I know like any good army my reprieve is only momentary. Now they have infiltrated my luggage…finding my forgotten plane snacks. Seriously in the closet! I am outdone as I stand outside in the hot Georgia sun shaking and beating Louis luggage on my mothers porch. Ugh.
It is the space between night and day and I am hot and tired and oh so hot. I must have lost the battle for the thermostat late in the night because I could swear I had turned it down to 76 my mother contends that 78 is “comfortable” but my damp body begs to differ. I try hard not to twist and turn on the couch/bed that I find myself on. It is generous by couch standards but longer than a nap has turned it into a not so patient neighbor with a visitor that has overstayed their welcome. My movement threatens to awaken the kids who are thankfully still asleep on the now deflated mattress by my side. Their little arms and legs flung carelessly over each other in a tangle of sheet and warm body. They are the casualties of the sunken ship that was once their firm mattress from hours before. It would be a comedy if only I wasn’t so exhausted.
With no choice I turn carefully once more trying to find a cool surface and a leg/arm formation that would remind me of the idea of comfort. In the early morning light my puffy eyes travel to the ceiling. It is official this is my third sleepless night I am amidst a tumble of hot days replaced by warm nights. All of the eating, “visiting” and close living becoming one swirl of activity. My nerves are frayed and I want to cry. My eyes close and the vision of my spacious suite and large king bed of days ago enters my mind. Roof top pool, room service and cool crisp sheets mock me now and I allow myself the freedom of a long silent sigh that I hold in my tummy and slowly let out as I lament my circumstance.
Foot steps, pots banging and the smell of bacon lure me awake. I must have fallen again into a restless sleep because my groggy eyes slowly open to the bright light and the sight of my grandmother sitting and watching the scene that is me and the kids. Her elderly eyes drink us in as the kids yawn and stretch their limbs awake. My mother busy in the kitchen sings the praises of a new day and her voice pierces through the fog that is my mind. Isn’t it much to early to be speaking so loud? Sigh. Her outstretched arms beckon for the children and they stumble and tumble into her embrace to receive their daily kisses. All over their faces and heads she plants them and surprises them with one on their tummy. They laugh and smile as she trumpets the delight that she feels in the sight of them and speaks of the adventures of the day to come. My Grandmothers eyes the scene patiently as she waits her turn to hug and kiss their faces. Her wrinkled hand strokes their smooth brown skin and you can feel the generations smile as they greet one another in the morning light.
My mood tries to hold on. Feeling justified in the light of my grievances …but alas my children’s laughter and delight and the sight of my Grandmother and Mothers clear reverence in the sight of us halts the steady stream of me me me.
Them them them. Starts to beat a steady cadence in my heart.
My mother pulls me into an insistent warm embrace and I allow my annoyance to dissipate as I feel her gratefulness that we have come home again. Her children.
The cost of the trip melts like hot butter… the stress, the budget strain the time and the hours the plane changes and early get ups the prep and the packing, the rental car and new bed clothes all seem to fall away.
Them them them….
Us us us….
The coming together the seeing of one another the being in each others presence… it is the reason.
My children laugh and my body soaks in their pleasure and it becomes my own. In the coming days I watch them blossom and grow as their roots expand in the soil that is “being with Family”. I watch as they eat new foods, dance and talk. They play with their cousins, entertain their Aunts and Uncles and listen to their elders…it is all a menagerie of Goodness.
As I watch my Mothers hand stroke their small heads I forbid my petty discomfort to keep me from this.
Us us us….
F A M I L Y