Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Home Again Home Again Clickety Clack

Every time I get on an airplane there is always a moment during the flight where I become convinced that I will die. I don’t panic. I accept my fate calmly. However, I do search the plane for someone to clutch on to that will have their shit together when our plane crashes.
When I flew back home from Chicago on Sunday I decided that the pint sized Japanese kid in the dirty Asics next to me would not be the person to rely on during a crash. He looked like a crier. Instead, I decided that the man two seats over with the tattoo sleeves might be a good option, only he was traveling with his wife. I moved on to the lady who looked like a mean grandma down the aisle from me. She would probably yell and scream and tell me to stop acting like an infant if I attempted to panic during a plane crash. I was certain she was the type of woman that would convince me everything would be fine right before our plane inevitably nose dove into the ocean. These are the inflight thoughts I always have. Sometimes it is overwhelming to be me.

I flew home to Chicago to surprise my mom for her 60th birthday. My sister, brother, and I did the same thing for my dad 6 years ago. My aunt Claudia set it up so that we would meet at her house and randomly show up, one by one, to surprise her. I was the last to arrive. When I came in my mom was upstairs in the bathroom. She came back down, sat next to my brother, and proceeded to chat with Claudia who I was sitting next to. She looked great. Her red hair has greyed and faded into a pretty blonde. She looked so petite and stylish. It took her a couple of minutes to realize that I was there. It was hysterical. Apparently my mom is not one to scrutinize her surroundings.

There is sadness involved in returning home. I thought it would be easier this time because it has been three years since my dad passed but his absence is so palpable. He was such a calming presence that without him the dynamic of our family has shifted. I missed him so much that my 4 day trip became a bit of an emotional drain. It made me feel out of sorts and little bit grumpy. I’m glad I went home because I love spending time with my mom. I got to really know my nephews,Seamus and Anthony, and spend lots of time with my sister and friends and brother. I am thankful for that.

When I miss my dad I can remember what his shoulders felt like. I had a habit of leaning my head on them. It doesn’t really make sense but the whole time I was home it felt like my head was resting on his shoulder. I could even imagine the feel of his soft gray sweater that he wore often. When I walked through Midway airport on the way to my flight home, I remembered taking the same escalator with the small steel bird sculptor hanging overhead with my parents and the kids. It was years ago when Andrew, Jacob, and Amelia were a handful to manage. I remember mom and dad walking me to the security check and hugging us all goodbye.  The memory was so vivid that I could feel their hugs.  It made me unbelievably sad. I wonder when I will learn to stop missing my dad so much.

The best way to explain my visit back to Chicago is to compare it to entering your neighborhood grocery store after it’s been remodeled. You’re excited to check it out only to find out that it’s the same but foreign and completely frustrating.  It's going to take some getting used to.

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