Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Up and at em at 5:45 this morning, I dragged my sleepy ass into the shower to wake it up so I could drive to Casper and meet Mom and the kids.  Casper is a decent half-way point, an easy drive for me because it's all freeway.  And nothing else.  I had two Red Bulls and was high on life and caffeine, savoring the beautiful Colorado sunshine, excited to be retrieving my kids who had been away for about six weeks.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy, that's what the drive would be.  Red Bull's wings felt fabulous!!!

Damn wings must have been made of tissue paper 'cause twenty minutes into my trip I was for shit.  CRASH. AND. BURN.  Ah geez it was going to be a long day if my eye lids didn't decide to stop closing on me.  I danced, I sang, I pinched underneath my thigh, desperate to wake the aforementioned sleepy ass up.  The "nothing else" of the Wyoming scenery was hypnotic, daringly trying to put me into its Cowboy State of mind.

I found a rest stop as quickly as I could, peed a gallon or two, and immediately crashed in the driver's seat, taking advantage of the generous two inch decline.  I was out in a nanosecond.  I set my phone to wake me up after twenty-five minutes.  That's all a person needs, right?  A twenty-five minute power nap and I'd surely be up for days! I was up, but not exactly powered.  It helped just enough to get me to Casper without looking like I was seizuring the entire way.

I pulled into Burger King and stepped out into the cold winter air.  Hold up.  It wasn't winter in Casper today?  'Cause I was pretty damn sure I saw a snowflake or TWO.  Mom and the kids were waiting in her car and we all got out and hugged as much to keep warm as we did to alleviate our physical withdrawal symptoms.

We all huddled around a Burger King table, eating breakfast while the kids and Granny told me as many stories as they could possibly fit into the time it took for us to eat.  My neck strained from one side to the other, back and forth, as each kid excitedly divulged every moment of the past month that I absolutely needed to hear about.  I recall many phone calls where I asked what they did that day, both of them muttering..."Nothing much really,"  when in fact they did SO much every day their little brains were too tired to recall much of anything.

Their happiness was heart-warming,  their laughter genuine.  They lived my childhood during that month in Cody.  My Granny and Grandpa built that house in the '50s, and it was a short walk from my childhood home.  So much of my early years were spent at that house, that garden, the patio, the huge yard. 

My kids learned to love the small town, and the life that Cody allows a child.  They spent their time in the garden, in the yard, playing on the patio, flying kites in the fields of my old elementary school, watching a mama deer and her twin babies from the backyard, playing in the water hose, digging up dirt.  During that month they were allowed to be kids, away from the drama of their home life, away from the big city where fear seems to lurk around every street corner, where apartment complexes, shopping malls, and millions of people have taken over Mother Nature's true beauty.

As I listened to them so excitedly telling their tales, I couldn't help but to be a little jealous.  I wanted to be with them to be a kid again, to escape the weight of adulthood, to disappear into the quiet of Cody and play outside until sundown, losing the day in activities that didn't require an electrical outlet.  All this was made possible because of my mom, who has so effortlessly taken over the role of Granny, the role her mother did so well until her death a few years ago.  What a great time it was for them all, creating memories that couldn't begin to fill a scrapbook.

Breakfast ended and we cleaned up, ready to head into our separate cars, cargo transferred from hers to mine.  More hugs were dispersed, and while I thanked Mom again for taking such great care of my kids, I don't think she will ever realize the impact it had on all of us who needed her so much.  Granny was headed back to Cody, where innocence and tranquility will accept my kids with open arms the next time they are able to go for a visit.  We were headed back to Denver, where the big city was still bustling, probably completely unaware we were away.

With food in my belly and the excitement of the kids with me, I hoped for a better drive back than I experienced up.  Not one to catch many breaks, the sleep fairy again planted herself on the steering wheel and snickered at me.  And she wasn't gonna budge.  Again, as soon as I could, I pulled into a rest stop and assured the kids it would be a quick nap.  They read books and played with toys while I crashed yet again, my head resting on the Bearemy, the teddy bear I loaned to Amanda to keep her company.  Forty-five minutes later I lifted my head which was wet with sweat, profusely apologizing for taking so long.  Hell, I coulda slept eight hours, but I'm sure the kids preferred otherwise...

No power in that nap either.  I spent the duration of the drive doing whatever I could muster up to keep me awake.  Finally I told Amanda to thwak me in the head.  Never one to turn down an opportunity to cause a little physical pain in someone, she put her gangly fingers in position, I leaned over, and THWAK!!  Ouch!!!  Do it again.  So she thwaked my cheek.  She was instructed to do that frequently until we got home, which she so dutifully did.  I think I still have welts on my cheek and forehead.  But those gangly thwaks kept me awake better than anything else.

Amanda wanted to surprise her dad with their arrival, so we pulled up to his house from the back and snuck up to the porch.  I don't know how sneaky I was, 'cause I was doing a serious pee pee dance.  The dogs barked incessantly and Dad came to the door to see Amanda's ginormous smile waiting for him.  Big hugs, big excitement, big surprise.   We all went inside and the dogs nearly passed out from excitement.  Instead of passing out however, they followed me into the bathroom.  MOM IS HERE!!!!!!  I love how excited they get when they see me!

Amanda kept saying she had tears of happiness, and her eyes were watery... that is until her dad grabbed her for a hug and she bawled with joy, along with her dad.  It was an intense, emotional moment between the two and I'll never forget the look on her face.

I agreed to leave them with their dad for a couple of hours.  He was sober and happy, and beyond excited to see them.  I truly hope this begins recovery for their dad; healing for him, the kids, me, all of us.  I am waiting for their return home, and I can't wait to hear about what they did together.

There are times of stress, times of pain; there are times to breathe, times to smile.  Life seems to enjoy swinging these emotions on a pendulum, back and forth, pain and happiness, sky high one day and lower than dirt the next.  Right now is a smiling, breathing time.  There is hope in the air, there is gratitude in our hearts.  My kids are safe at home and I'm going to spend the evening holding them close and remaining in their presence until we begin a new day tomorrow.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen! Grandma