My Photo of the Day for tomorrow (which will be today by the time I post this) was not planned to coincide with these thoughts. I simply liked the perspective of the image, the focus on the hint of the rings, the rest of me out-of-focus above, looking down. As it turns out, “Perspective” is a great topic-of-moment, however, so the photo is apropos is more ways than I originally realized.
As I write this I am on a train bound for home, for St. Louis. If you will recall, our trip out to Sacramento was a bit of a clusterfuck, and my time out there was not ideal in many (most) ways. Unfortunately the return trip has not been smooth going either. Yesterday a train derailment took out a piece of the rail between Lincoln and Omaha. No one was hurt, as far as I know, but it caused our train to be rerouted through Cheyenne, Wyoming, which caused a 5 1/2 hour delay. Which in turn caused us to miss our connection in Chicago, and would have made us miss the next – and last – connection out of Chicago as well. As it turned out, they ended up putting us off the train in Galesburg, Illinois, where we caught a Greyhound bus, which then caught up to our original train in Bloomington, Illinois…we got on there and are now continuing on our way.
It sounds a lot neater and more coordinated than it was. We were told nothing until the last moment, and scrambling to get myself, mom and our stuff together, on and off two trains and a bus, all the while trying to figure out how to get my mom fed (she had skipped lunch for some unknown reason, and the way they dumped us in Galesburg with no forewarning meant we didn’t have a chance to have supper – and she is diabetic) was a considerable challenge. But, we made it. Here we are, and, for the first time, I have had peace and quiet and a sort of alonetime in I don’t know how long – I insisted on each of us taking our own seats on the bus and this train, not sitting side-by-side.
Heaven. Pure fucking heaven. Space to think, space to spread out, space to breathe.
It has also given me time to reflect on things, and given me some – you guessed it – perspective.
The last two days on the train were actually as ideal as they could have been, in terms of comfort. Mom and I split the cost to upgrade to a larger room, and it was like living in a palace after living in a box. I got some good computer time in, and even my upper bunk was larger and more comfortable.
Unfortunately, after a month of dealing with grandma, and then some tension dealing with my uncles when they got back, and then again dealing with my mother’s very clingy, very needy personality, I was frayed emotionally. It didn’t help when I specifically asked for some free/alone time and mom couldn’t give it to me. I finally simply left for an hour last night and went up to the observation deck, not giving my mother a chance to object.
Again, it was heaven, and much needed to regain my equilibrium and sense of humor and patience. Using W as an escape valve didn’t hurt either. Being able to blow off steam into his non-judgmental ear was very much appreciated.
I did learn, though, that there is a limit to my patience, to my good attitude, to my willingness to give and give and give. I don’t think this is a Bad Thing. Quite the opposite. Knowing there is a limit is a good thing, because now I can watch for the signs and take measures to alleviate the situation next time.
I love my mom dearly. I am so blessed and grateful to have had this time with her. And, surprisingly, I love my grandma and was glad that I got the opportunity to get to know her a little bit and to care for her in these last months of her life. And I love my uncles, and am grateful to have gotten to know them, as well. I have very few family members (read none) outside my nuclear family that I know well (or at all.) So…this was a good trip for the fact that I was able to spend time with them all. An important trip for those reasons. I know I will cherish many of the memories in years to come.
But now…just get me home. Take me to my chosen family, the family I have chosen to spend my life with, the family I wish to spend my time with right now. Thank you.
Edited: I decided to add some further perspective to this narrative, in the form of photos I took while on this last leg of the trip. I am humbled by the beauty I was given the opportunity to witness…and disappointed in myself for my poor attitude during this last part of the trip. :-( I know, it is all a learning experience, but still. I want to remember these sights, and the times Mom and I laughed together, and the spirit of adventure with which we both approached this a month ago. Maybe coming back here and viewing these pictures every once in a while will be a reminder of that to me.