The following was blogged Tuesday morning, my apologies for not getting it posted sooner. Bear with me; there is more to come in the next few days...
With the dawn of each new year and especially when spring approaches, I get quite antsy to be out. And by "out" I mean out of here. I sit down with the calendar, all giddy inside over the year's potential, and plan trips - day trips, overnight trips, weekend trips, and the ever elusive actual vacation. Most of the time, the place that calls to my soul (and to which my soul responds the loudest) is the ocean. I came to the realization two years ago that I need to be near water; that it is an array of things to my soul that I can't even begin to put into words.
So that's where I usually try to focus my trips - some tropical (hahahahahahahahahaha..... sigh) locale with some body of water. Very few trips actually translate into visiting any form of water, unless, of course, you count gutter streams and ditch rivers, in which case my trips are usually full of them. And for any of you out there thinking, "well, why don't you just head on over to Lake Mead if you need water?" - you folks can cram it. That place does not count as a body of water. I mean, really, have you seen Lake Mead? <shudder>
As my planning continues on and monies dwindle, I get desperate and begin to refer to humidity as a "body" of water. (Yeah, I know, humidity versus Lake Mead? Look, I've only had four cups of coffee so far. Give me til about number eight.) Typically, making it to any water (in all it's loosely accepted forms) only happens tow or three times out of the year. With the exception of last year - somehow I managed to squeeze in five watery locations spanning the width of the nation. It was glorious, to say the least. (insert angelic singing)
But today I'm embarking on a trip whose destination only gives hints of water (through our now well-defined and well-accepted form of water known as "humidity"... at an average of maybe, cough, 5%) and this particular trip was in no way planned. (Yeah, I'm reaching here to call this a "tropical vacation". There's nothing wrong with delusions.)
Early Friday morning my mother, who lives with my step-father (who is very "dad" to me) in another landlocked state, fell ill and went to hospital with severe lower abdominal pain. Once way-too-hastily-imho discharged with pain meds, she returned to hospital not less than 12 hours later with the same pain now magnified. By Sunday night she was in emergency surgery to remove a lower intestinal obstruction. By the grace of God, her condition has improved and she's in better spirits. And by "better" I mean compared to having a huge knot in one's bowels.
My dad is doing well. But that needs explaining. He'll turn 86 this year, is blind in one eye, can't see out of the other (okay, can barely see out of the other), doesn't drive (oh, thank God, right?!), and lives 600+ miles from the nearest relatives.
So that's where I come in - and not simply out of doing the daughterly duty but also out of common sense, logic, human compassion, whatever. As a child, my mother relayed stories of how absolutely stubborn her mother was and how much it just drove her nuts. I know my mother and I know she's taken my grandmother's stubbornness and perfected it. Knowing her typical behavior (and isn't this where I insert that "God bless her" phrase to make me feel less guilty about what I'm going to say next?) she'll stay in hospital until she gets herself to an "acceptable" amount of healing and from that point on pretend like she's completely cured, pushing herself, ignoring her body, in order not to be a burden to anyone, especially my dad.
Noble. But stupid. (I say that with love. Maybe.)
My dad will, as time has dictated repeatedly, exhaust himself trying to pick up the loose ends, fill her shoes while she's away, and otherwise "function" - without the love of his life around. At 85. With two "ungood" eyes.
That's part of my point in going. I suppose if the two of them were the same age (on the younger side of the age difference, mind you - my mom is 62) then maybe I wouldn't feel such an urgency to be there as soon as possible. (He called Sunday night. It's Tuesday morning and I'm waiting to board my plane.) And not that I wouldn't still come out - but it wouldn't be under stress from my side of the boxing ring. (read: who wants to watch someone elses two kids for a week? read: those two kids' "other" mom. oh, thank God.)
I've blogged repeatedly about the importance of us mothers taking time to get away, time for ourselves. This wasn't exactly what I meant. Okay, it wasn't at all what I meant.
And yet, here we are or I am or whoever. (Sucking down that sixth cup...) I am going to be away from my children, my daily duties - my normal stresses and road blocks... so I'd be foolish not to bring along my drawing pad, pencils, portfolio, and laptop - my "work space". There's not going to be a "work time" opportunity like this presenting itself anytime soon so... (and, yes, yes, yes, I hear you. I said I'd get my art posted... I'm gettin', I'm gettin'!)
So I'll focus on helping to heal my mother, my father, and, I suppose, in some sense, myself because art is always healing. And we all know just sitting around here doing nothing once responsibilities are met isn't something my brain will be able to do without spiraling into spontaneous combustion.
And I don't need to become my mom's roommate at hospital.
Though I've heard the hospital's gift shop is killer. No pun intended.