Westward Bound

The day after tomorrow at this time I’ll be in the air on my way to the land of my birth.  It will have been close to 10 months since I have been back. I had to forego the December-January trip because my Achilles tendon let me down, so to speak, and so I haven’t yet seen my newest grandchild, Baby Sage.  I didn’t see his sister turn two.  I didn’t see their cousin, Gabriella, turn 3 and I didn’t see her big brother, Nico, turn 4 and a half.  Not to forget their parents, my sons and their wives and partners, but then, they don’t change much from year to year, not at this point in their lives.  At least, they hope not.

Three of our grandchildren were born in January.  If you count back to conception,  that makes a neat connection to April, spring, and burgeoning fertility in nature.  Sage was, according to his parents, conceived in England on my birthday.  He was born the day of my Achilles tendon operation, which will allow me to walk properly again.  So we have something in common, right from the start.  I can’t wait to see him. 

However, preparing to travel is the most unpleasant thing I can think of doing.  No matter that I am eager to see the little ones and their parents.  Ecstatic, even, to be nearly there now, after months of merely seeing them on the webcam, although that is better than nothing.  I even managed to get a smile out of tiny Sage over the internet.

But getting out the suitcases, looking at the weather predictions, thinking about which clothes I will need in 3 different time zones and 3 different states, washing some, ironing some, making a list of what gaps I need to fill, making sure I have enough of the one or two medications I’ll need, worrying about leaving Bernard and my dog for 6 weeks,as well as the village where we are only just getting established,  all of it is tiring and tedious.  On top of that, this time I’m concerned that my newly healed ankle will hold up.  I’ve ordered wheelchairs at the airports, a humiliating thing to do, and I don’t want to use them. 

And I’m an avoidance expert.  When some people are anxious they spring into action.  They check time-tables, flights, prices, cars, probable and improbable eventualities.  I can’t even enumerate them for you because my mind goes blank.  Those action people have all their bases covered weeks in advance.  Personally, I find anxiety so unpleasant I find anything to do except get ready.  Dozens of Sudoko puzzles lie finished and half-finished around the house.  I’m reading two books, one in French to keep up my vocabulary and another in English.  Of course, this blog needs work, as well, and it needs it today. 

It’s always been like that.  I accept it now, though I have often called myself bad names for this tendency.  In fact, I will be ready when it’s time to go.  I won’t forget anything critical, and if I do, it can be replaced.  The instant I’m on the plane it will all be erased from my mind, which will remain blank for a few hours, and then the pleasure of the coming visit will take over. 

And pleasure it is.  I’ve copied a wonderful poem about grandchildren by Richard Wilbur which you will find if you click on POETRY.