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12 May

I’m over it enough now to be able to re-live the experience in writing about it.  We traveled to the beautiful Delta where we spent a few blissful days with the people I refer to as my roots.  I called them “the folks” to Henry and he started calling them “the smokes”. They are my people.  We share a love of just the right descriptor and pretty clothes and oil paintings and watercolors.  Everybody is always reading something interesting that they must tell you about or read you a passage of.  We love jazz standards and sitting on the patio watching the redwing blackbirds dive and children frolic in the fountain.  We are all so plugged-in that we will even sit back there with our laptop computers working on our blogs.  Figuring out how much or how little to tell the world about our thoughts, plans, and activities.

My trip was a gift to three generations of mothers.  For Mimi, whom I haven’t seen in nearly a year.  She has hardly changed at all.  A dubious gift to my mom, who hasn’t had us home since last July.  What this really means is that she has forgotten how to inflate the inflatable bed and hasn’t bought capri-suns and pop-tarts in nearly a year.  She hasn’t worked this hard in a long time.  Cooking breakfasts, buying lots of doughnuts, refereeing arguments, cleaning up and cleaning up and cleaning up.  And it was especially a gift for me.  My homesickness is well-documented here on btc.

Every now and then I have to get home so that, as my dad once said “we can remind you of what it’s really like here.” 

He meant it tongue-in-cheek.  Like if I came home, I would quickly get my fill and leave as soon as I possibly could.  But I am chronically homesick.  From camp, at boarding school, college, a whole summer in Paris, law school, while married and living in Texas, and now divorced and living in Texas.

But how can you not love a place where when you have to go there, they have to take you in?  Even if they have deliberately built a two bedroom house with stained concrete floors that enhance the noise of children, rather than muffling it?  Even if there is relatively little furniture and certainly no extra beds.  You can’t see a movie as there is no theatre.  The nights are early and the mornings are too.  The trains whistle across the fields as you lie in bed, thinking about how lucky and relaxed you are to be there.

Because getting there is no walk in the park.  You rise early to get yourself together.  You have already placed the three carry-on bags of the children in the van.  The dogs are boarded, and care for the cats and goldfish has been arranged.  You make the mistake of responding to an early-morning email and that sets you back a few minutes, but then you wake up your big kids and after pointing them to their clothes, carefully laid-out the night before, you order them into the car.  You return to your bed to scoop up the slumbering three year-old windmill who has graced you with his presence in the middle of the night, and carry him straight out the door.  “Where am I?” are his first words of the day.  It is 6 a.m. and still dark outside.

At the airport, you manage a fake smile for the gate agent who says “I can’t find your reservation,” assuming he is being funny.  Then you realize that you have given him your new-old name and that you are traveling under your married name so as not to be suspected of kidnaping three children who don’t share your new-old name.  Reservation located, you move to security where you wait.  Barefoot with three barefoot children.  They are so good at traveling that they know to place their bags on the belt and enter the metal detector.  You, on the other hand, in an effort to be respectful, are wearing a dress.  Since the last time you flew – 6 weeks ago – the TSA has, unbeknownst to you, issued a terror alert for caucasian mothers traveling with three small children and wearing dresses.  Because you just never know whether she might have expolsives strapped to her upper thighs.  Which is why you are subjected to the invasive, full-body patdown.  Which is more of a groping.  If you enjoyed it, you would have referred to it as fondling, but this was not enjoyable in the least.  It was embarrassing and a room full of people watched you being groped.  Including your three children.

The agent then proceeds to harass you for not having your makeup foundation and facial sunscreen in a clear plastic bag.  Even though you have already checked that they comply with the 3 oz requirement and you have separated them from your luggage.  Removing them from your suitcase and makeup bag and making them available for inspection.  You are informed rudely that TSA regulations require a quart-sized clear plastic bag, and no, we don’t supply them.  ( The last time I flew, 6 weeks ago, it wasn’t an issue.)

Again, my children are wondering what I did wrong to have to be crevice-searched and chastised by someone with a lot of authority and little sense.  The children were so good during this interminable ordeal.  Then we made our first leg of the trip to Dallas – uneventful.  And the same for our connection from Dallas to Jackson.  They were stellar travelers.  I was so proud.

The return trip was another story.  We made it fine, but did experience a few hurdles.  However, hurdles are de rigueur in my little family.  We kind of expect them, and when we clear them, we pat ourselves on the back and move on.  Maybe moving on is what we do best.

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