So, because I tend to be a cynical gal…I often forget to see, or mark, the good out loud. I don’t know why exactly, I’m sure some therapist could
buy a house in Boca spend decades unraveling it. But, to try to offset that tendency, and to keep from only being a “debbie downer” kind of gal, I want to make sure that now and then I mark the good. Publicly, even. So that I never forget it (because I will) and so that you all can see that progress happens.
Eventually, progress happens – maybe only tiny moments, but those might mean so much. I think they do, if you have the eyes to see. I’m trying to keep my eyes open.
About a week ago we went on the one and only official family visit up to the Novitiate to see Brother Peter Joseph. Sounds simple, no big deal, right? Well now, consider who is traveling: my family. That means, of course, that no, no, it’s not simple. We don’t do ANYTHING simply. Geez, you’d think you’d know that by now!
Anyhow, back to this particular travel weekend. To get our crew to this event entailed a car ride that technically should be five hours, but with our quantity of kiddos takes six. It’s just math, that: x number of kids multiplied by x number of stops for gas, snacks, potties (every time)…with integer factors of contributing age/bladder issues (young/old), equals at least one or more hours added to the trip time. Plus we have to take two cars because we don’t fit in one (though this works out best with regard to space issues as well as personality conflicts between some sibs and the parental desire for peace and sanity).
So, get the image in your head: it’s a mini caravan, with excitement and prickliness vying for top spot. Fun, huh!? Happily enough, autumn is a nice time to travel – not too hot and humid, not icy cold – and the visuals are usually nice with the fall colors. Any outbound leg of a trip is typically better than the trip homeward because, lets face it, the anticipation can carry the day, almost as well as a flat out bribe. In fact, this trip up was MUCH better than the homeward trip and we won’t even talk about that leg of it because this post is all about marking the good. So the return leg goes “into the vault”….get it? Yeah. ‘Nuff said.
So, to bring this rambling back onto point: travel with Marta can be a tricky thing. It can be exciting and happy and fun for her; but doesn’t tend to be so when it includes long car rides with the other kiddles all packed in. It can be a major anxiety producer, because by definition it means a change in schedule and routine (not to mention location, time zone, weather, beds, housing, clothes, etc etc etc). For a hyper-vigilant kid with rigid needs for routine and stability and so on, travel can be a mixed bag, no pun intended. And if you’re going to a new place and/or event and the activities and/or venues are unfamiliar, that anxiety can simply TAKE OVER. It can spin out of control. It can shut her down. So, this is all to say we’ve had some tricky travel times over the past few years. But this weekend was super important. We all missed Chris/Peter Joseph, and we were all motivated to try to make it work smoothly to go visit. So, Coffeedoc and I held our breath and just knew we would work hard and hope for the best!
Now, I’m not gonna give you a blow by blow of the weekend. You’re welcome. We had ups, we had downs…you know…”it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” But here is where I finally say it: we had a minor/major breakthrough moment. Seems minor. Is major. Huge, really. You mom’s of kid’s from hard places will know just what I mean, I think.
But here it is, Mark It: I was driving. We were about 3-4 hours into the drive. Marta had moved into the passenger seat next to me. She was plugged into her tunes, seeming to zone out. It was a beautiful, glorious, day: sunny, glittery, color explosion of leaves all around. Gorgeous. I was thinking about how pretty it was, just kind of savoring it. And Marta sat up, took out her earbuds, swiveled her head a few times, did a Vanna White hand wave and said, “Trees, much color, so pretty!” I said, “I know! I was JUST thinking that! I LOVE it, so beautiful, my favorite!” She nodded, “SO pretty! Very nice!” Then she smiled at me and she put her buds back in and sat back and picked a new song.
And I marveled.
Because, you see, that’s a multi-step wow.
First, Marta was relaxed enough to open her eyes and sit listening to music as we drove. Next, she was relaxed enough to open her eyes to see the colors. Next, she was relaxed enough to ENJOY the colors! Lastly, she was relaxed and, ok, I’ll go there, maybe connected enough to comment on the colors. She saw beauty. And ya know, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think you can take in beauty, really soak it in and go “ahhh” unless you are relaxed and even a little bit happy. And, she was relaxed and a little bit happy and we were traveling!! In a car! To somewhere NEW and unknown!
So, that’s it. That’s my marking the good. It’s a biggie, though some of you might pooh-pooh it. But, if you know this girl, you won’t. If you’re a mom parenting a hyper-vigilant kid, you won’t. This is a good, a big good and I’m gonna wrap it up in a red and gold sparkly bow and file it away under autumn healing goodness. Because that’s what it is.
My eyes were open, they saw they beauty all around me.