July 14, 2011

not there anymore

Zion needs bifocals, so Daniel took him to the eye doctor (who happens to be in Hong Kong, which translates into a 5-day trip).  This time Bright got to go too, so as not to miss out on the fun twice.  That leaves me and the babe in the house until Tuesday.  Quiet, eery, and surreal.  It's like a flashback to 2007 when I had only one child.  Except then, I thought I was going to lose my mind.  It's all relative, isn't it?

As Brave played with a rubber fish on the floor beside me this morning, and as I sipped my coffee and nibbled on a really good cranberry-white-chocolate-chip cookie, I decided I would call my mom.  After all, retired mothers are supposed to do nothing but sit by their phones and wait for their daughters to call, right?  I think that may have been my expectation, because when my mom answered the phone from a caravan trip to Drummond Island (which I knew nothing about), barely able to hear me because of traffic, losing service in-and-out of the northern Michigan woodlands, and constantly bombarded with incoming calls from my brothers and girlfriend-in-law (is that a term?), I was saddened to tears as I realized two things:
1.) Life goes on back in America without me.
2.) I have been gone a long time.

I hung up the phone and looked around at my apartment.  This is my life, of which no one from my previous existence knows anything about.  I bought carrot nectar this morning, for example, for 3 kuai per bottle, while the storeclerk's wife chopstick-fed my baby a lump of rice and G0D-only-knows-what from her tin lunch pail, and I thought nothing of it.  Does that resonate with any of you?  I didn't think so.  As I listened to my mom talk briefly, over the hum of passing cars, about lakes and tubing and speed boats, I literally felt as if I were sliding further away from her with every word.  She lives in a world of s'mores and charcoal, and I live in a world of tai chi and mule-drawn carts.

Then the words, "Everybody's coming up to the island this weekend except Uncle Randy and Kody...oh and you guys, of course."  I know my dear mama meant nothing by it, but it hit me like a spark from a roaring campfire.  "Everybody" no longer includes us.

Life is full of sacrifices.

So that is what I have to say, on this sunny afternoon in East Asia, while my tuckered-out son sleeps soundly in the other room.  Daniel will come home on Tuesday and our lives will resume.  That's what happens.  Life resumes.   
Regardless of who is, or isn't there anymore.
Holland State Park, Holland, MI