Wednesday, November 10, 2010

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 94

Or, Getting to the Other Side:

Lately, our lives have seemed like a two-sided coin. We keep waiting to flip - to get to the other side - or finding that suddenly, without notice, we have. It began with the moment, quick as a coin toss, that turned Sunday to Monday and our little girl into a big four-year old. It continued on Thursday as we boarded a plane on one side of the country (well, closer to one side of the country) and touched down seven hours later on the other side. We had woken up in winter and found ourselves back firmly in summer by the afternoon. We had traveled with a healthy girl by our side (albeit, one that took an uncharacteristic and long nap) and found ourselves with a sick little one by early morning. The trip we had planned, the experiences envisioned, turned on a dime. By Sunday, Audrey was running around my sister's house in California, twirling about in her new ballerina skirt (thanks, Aunt Ashley and Uncle Joe!), hitching a stroller ride to the park, and requesting gummy bears on her ice cream while I had taken her spot in bed. (I'm still not ready for my tutu and gummy worms). Part of me wanted to grieve the trip that could have been, but the other part, the side that hitches up her big-girl pants or ponders sticking her head in the freezer to shake herself out of it, knew better. My life has been filled with fortunate coin tosses. My children have strong immune systems and even stronger spirits. We've been blessed with the resources to save up enough money to finally make such a trip. We live in a place with the materials and manpower to make such a trip possible, let alone, affordable (not to mention, both kids were incredible on the plane). When I became sick, my sister very willingly took it upon herself to take advantage of the time with Audrey and whisk her away to the park and on an ice cream date. Most of all, we had a better reason for visiting California than the beach or the weather or Disneyland. We had family (and one very cute nephew, to boot) who luckily, didn't seem to care that we weren't at our best.

And, of course, we had these, the moments of last week:

Our growing boy's fifth tooth broke the surface last week. As if in show of just how much he's growing, he also began letting us know just how he plans on testing the limits - with a wide smile on his face. Each time he reached the non-gated stairs at my sister's he looked back to see if we were watching. No Nate, we'd warn. He'd smile, put a hand on the first step, and throw a glance back our way. We'd pick him up, he'd laugh, and try again (or stick his hand in the dogs' water bowl).

On Monday, I asked Audrey if we should go get balloons (envisioning helium balloons) to celebrate her birthday. She pointed to a cabinet housing a package of latex balloons. "There are balloons up there, you silly goose."

That night we sat down for dinner. I had gotten in the habit of lighting a candle before dinner. During dinner, Jason and I ask Audrey what her saddest and favorite parts of the day were and take turns sharing ours. The wax of the candle I had been using had run out and I hadn't searched out a replacement. As we began dinner, Audrey ran over and grabbed her music box. She set it on the table and opened it so the music played. Then she turned to me and asked what the worst part of my day was. Jason laughed. "Do you see what just happened there? She just took your job."

Thursday morning as we drove to the airport, I asked Audrey if she wanted a bite of the apple I was eating. "No," she said, "it's got your smell on it."

As we drove from the airport to my sister's house, Audrey pointed to the palm trees lining the streets. "Beach trees!" she said, and referred to them as such all week.

On Friday, I watched my nephew as my sister ran an errand. At one point, he began to cry. "I think he's crying because he wants his mother," she said. "His mother isn't here, only my mother. I think he's freaked out."

We have found ourselves on both sides of the coin lately. But we're only hanging onto a few moments - those we find heads-side up.

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