In case you were wondering, I chose to watch cable instead of posting for the last several days.
Actually, that isn't accurate. For all of the delicious cable television that was available, I actually watched very little of it. And for all of the delicious food that was available, well, that's another story. Two words: Gingersnap Cheesecake. Two more words: Twenty Pounds.
Here's the Recap:
First off, Our Bird. Our Bird, our Bird. Could not have been a better traveler (except maybe that last hour in the car where I had to contort my body to hold her hand from the front seat and sing "mockingbird," complete with the made-up verses, over and over in the dark and pouring rain). But the rest of the time, with the chattering from the back seat and the self-entertaining, really, she just could not have been better. And to top it all off, we had a fabulous impromptu dance party, just Bird and I, south of Louisville in the empty, too-bright, too-loud restroom at McDonalds, jumping around all rumpled and wrinkled and weary, happy to be off the road, unbuckled and on our feet, finally out of the rain. I'm telling you, that kid has some serious moves. And she knows it's funny to dance in the bathroom. I am a lucky mama.
And that says nothing of our first real holiday-with-toddler experience, watching Birdy chattering with family, losing her shyness, baking pretend food for her grandparents, saying "please" and "thank you" and a hundred hilarious one-liners I can't seem to hold long enough in my brain. Snuggling in the guest room at my Mom and Dad's, nose to nose with me, saying, "you be quiet now, mommy. I have to go to sleep."
And the Thanksgiving went on like that, generally peaceful and easy, visiting with my grandparents who made the journey to Littleplace with the help of my Dad, spending time too-rare with my brother and Mrs. Brother and their completely reconstructed dog, talking more about life now, and less about life then.
That distance between past and present is both jarring and peaceful, depending on the second it hits you.
And it isn't always easy to know who or how you are supposed to be-- even as unshakable a person as you may be in your daily life-- when you are back in the mix of family, being a mother and a daughter, a sister and an in-law, a cook and a guest, under the old roof, sleeping in the old bedroom, with the old roles and the new roles and the new people and the old people.
And truly, we are so thankful. We are thankful for family, for a safe trip, for our healthy, happy Bird and her sweet spirit. We are thankful for cars that run well and twenty bucks secretly slipped into my purse for gas. We are thankful for all of the reasons that pull us toward moving back to Indiana, and just as thankful for all of the reasons that keep us here in Tennessee. We are thankful to have enough reasons to want to be in two places at the same time.
And you know, that exhausted and joyful dance party in the bathroom on our long drive home is probably my favorite memory of the whole five days. Which is not to say the rest of our time wasn't completely lovely, because it absolutely was, with the pies and the hugs and the catching up. But this is what I'm talking about, whether I make any sense or not-- the past and the present and roles and relationships and parents and children and things now and things then and it all shifts with this new family of mine that is unfolding, holding me tighter and tighter in a little ball with Bird and A.
On another note, my dogs shit on the floor almost every day we were gone. We're going to run out of dog sitters if this continues.