Friday, July 25, 2014

Vacationland

It is my last night here in vacationland. I know it is time to go. I am sad. 

This week, we were out west to see my sister and her family. We did lots of really important things here like eat donuts at 10AM with the rabbit and guinea pig. We made dust out of chalk and used a paint brush to turn the colored dust into art. We rainbow loomed by the ping pong table. We swam at 5 o’clock and ate hot dogs at 7pm. We made ice cream and ate it twice a day just because we could. We went on roller coasters and long slides and watched cuddly movies with cousins. We drank wine early and often. These are the unspoken rules of summer in wine country. 

Every day in moments big and small I got to laugh and talk and mother alongside my sister. We won’t get time like this together again until November. I truly savored it.

As if knowing she won't see her again for quite some time, the baby picked this week to tackle a big milestone by cutting her first two teeth. She was slow to make her shift from east coast time to west coast time. On those early mornings when we were the first ones up, I would quickly hurry her out of the guest room we’re all sharing so as to keep her from waking the others. Often, we'd go outside to the back of the house. Mornings in northern California can be chilly but if you bring a blanket they are just right. In the back they have one of those old swings, a two-seater that you can just lean back and sink into. I love these swings. They are perfect in every way. Not too fast, not too slow; your feet just touching the ground to keep you slowly moving back and forth. Phil’s family is originally from the middle east and I haven’t picked up many Arabic words from them but I have learned this: the Arabic word to describe such a swing. In Phil’s family just about everyone has one. They call it a Jallala. 

So every morning Hope and I had our Jallala time where we swung back and forth. We would travel the space from here to there and back to here. To a baby and to a mother at 5:30 in the morning, this can seem very far. Most importantly, we would stay quiet. At that hour of the day there is sun but not much else, mostly birds. We humbled ourselves. We stayed small. We listened.

This very special week I have felt so far away from the rest of the world. Like many of us, the strife in Gaza has been weighing on my mind. The world is just so much right now. So much pain and blood and sadness and hate. Vacationland is the world of just right. There is magic here in the small  and decidedly un-glamorous moments of simple and sweet and morning quiet. I wonder what would happen in this world of noise, if we could all shelf our collective rage and egos long enough to just listen. I wonder if this quiet we seek will not be won so much as earned, like on the Jallala. A little bit forward, a little bit back. Lots of listening and humility. The chance to slow down, find your footing.

Steadying myself for a return to noise. Praying for a lasting quiet and peace.