After nearly three years of no traveling, not even within the not-so-great state of Florida, we finally, FINALLY, took a trip. It wasn’t the most exciting trip we could have taken, but it was the most important. We went to my old childhood stomping grounds and visited family. As many of you know, my mom is 98. I also have an older sister living with Parkinson’s, and a younger cousin living with Multiple Sclerosis. So this trip was bittersweet.
My mom is in good health, with a strong enough constitution to insist that it would be “ridiculous” (her word) to live to 99 or longer. I know she’s ready to go, but it was good to see her enjoying herself during our visit.
My sister … well, I hadn’t seen her in about six and a half years, so it was a shock to see what Parkinson’s had done to her body. Still, mentally, she was all there, quick to spar with words, get the joke, and say when she was done for the day.
My cousin, I hadn’t seen her in the same length of time. Fortunately, she was feeling well enough to sit through a short visit. She still has her bright, light-up-the-face smile, but wouldn’t talk much about her illness. The visit with her was rich: when she married some thirty-odd years ago, she and her husband built a house and included an in-law section for her mother and father. Her father (my uncle) is now deceased, but her mom (my aunt, my mother’s sister) is still vibrant at 94.
While we were there, my cousin’s nine-year-old granddaughter stopped in after school, to wait for her dad who would take her to judo. At first shy, Farrah was soon entertaining us with stories about her chickens. The best part was watching how she interacted with her great-grandmother. My aunt insisted on sharing her chair with Farrah, and I could see that they had a warm, loving relationship.
It was, as always, an interesting experience to sit at a table with my mom and my aunt at either end, both hard-of-hearing, playing messenger when one couldn’t hear the other. In fact, most of the people we saw, including ourselves, are hard of hearing. Some who need hearing aids wore them (myself, my husband, my sister); some who need hearing aids didn’t (my mother). I never talked so loud and for so long in my life.
My husband and I consider our trip to be a great success. I didn’t plan anything, just knew generally what I wanted us to do: get my mom and her sister together; meet one of my cousins for the first time (long story for later); spend as much quality time with my mom and sister as possible. Check, check, check.
Now, who knows what the future holds. I feel it stretching before me. I’ve come home to a couple of doctor appointments and not much else, and that’s just fine. I say I’m back “more or less” because part of me is still in New York, still musing about all we saw and did there.
Of course, one of the things I did there was take photos. On our first evening, we took a short walk across from our hotel and saw these lovely wildflowers.
This was the view from our window. No, it’s not spectacular, but it was a nice view nonetheless. One evening I watched a rabbit hop around the grounds, probably checking out the picnic table (not seen in photo) for crumbs.
My mom has purple tulips in her little garden.
We flew out of Albany, New York at 6 AM. This is was the view after we’d been in the air about a half-hour or so.
Finally, to my surprise and delight, my onion bloomed in time for our return home.
The onion plant was an experiment. A couple of months ago, one of the onions I had bought for cooking started to sprout. On a lark, I decided to plant the onion and see what would happen. I don’t know if the long stalks are edible (they smell like green onions when I cut them), but I got pretty excited when bulbs appeared on a couple of them. And this is the result.
Thank you for reading. Here’s your reward for reading to the end.
Marie A Bailey
Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.