One day my David mentioned to me in passing that I should plan a trip somewhere and he would stay here with his dad. What, what? Well, I did not let any grass grow under these feet. I started the ball rolling on a trip to visit my son and daughter in law in Georgia before David had a chance to ask himself, “What have I done?”
The trip had a bit of a rough start which I will only comment on to say that stand-by tickets aren’t really the way to go if you are a caregiver desperate for a little break. And I was desperate. Since the stroke, 2 1/2 years ago, I have only been away over night twice before this trip. Once for a one night stay with a friend – a dry run, so to speak for the other trip, which was a weekend to Florida to witness my daughter-in-law’s doctoral graduation. Neither of those had been a roaring success in the respite category. The over night trip was preceded with the first accusation by Strokeman of infidelity on my part. That kind of rained on my parade. I still managed to enjoy myself, but not without this nagging anxiety in the back of my mind. The second was a whirlwind trip in which I was one of many people vying for the attention of my son and his wife. I was glad I went, but came away feeling very un-fulfilled in the visiting with my favorite daughter-in-law category (I only have one, folks, but she has set the bar very high!).
So here I was finally getting some undivided attention from “my” Jenny…oh! and of course, my son. After the initial fiasco of almost not getting a flight, I was picked up in Atlanta by said DIL. And the fun began. I knew that my time would be short, but I wanted to do what I could to make sure it didn’t feel really short. I decided I would be game for anything, that I would try something I had never tasted at each meal, and that I would concentrate on just being present. I was not disappointed.
First of all, I had Jenny as a captive audience all the way from the airport in Atlanta to Athens, approximately two hours away. We just visited, as if we had all the time in the world. We stopped at a place called Poor Calvin’s for lunch. Get this, it was a southern/asian fusion. How many times have you seen Pad Thai and fried chicken on the same menu? While the waiter had said the fried chicken and macaroni and cheese (with an asian twist) were the best sellers, we opted for Pad Thai (which I had never had) and Crispy Kobe Beef (always heard about kobe beef, now I’ve had it). The atmosphere was great, the food was great, and if you ever go, ask how the restaurant got its name.
Once we got to Athens I got a tour of the new house, which was much more beautiful than the pictures had revealed. It does a mom’s heart good to see her kids be successful. We sat and visited; Jenny, Caleb and I: Talking about their lives, their jobs, my life, my job. We dozed a little and then we went out to eat. We met some friends of C&J at the Big City Bread Cafe. This was a great little shop with a variety of salads an sandwiches made with fresh bread, along with some nicer entre’s. Lot’s of natural ingredients from local farmers. I had a lamb burger which was lovely. I found the couple that joined us to be very pleasant company. I felt comfortable with them right away – so much so, that I fell into my usual habit of offering free advice on subjects of which I had no knowledge. Lots of laughter, lots of good stories. When we realized that we were the only people there besides a wedding rehearsal party, we snuck out the side door.
After saying goodbye to the friends, we made our way to Buffalo’s Cafe to hear an 80’s cover band. I discovered that while I recognized some of the songs, my heart belongs to the 60’s and 70’s. The band was good, especially their guitar man. The crowd was very entertaining. I tried a peach margarita, and decided it was no match for the real thing. We left before it was over and headed home.
I slept. I slept without being disturbed by anyone but me. I slept. No TV, no urinals, no one asking for anything. I slept. Even as I write this, I have to stop and relive it in my mind once again; dark, quiet, cool room, warm covers. What a blessed gift is sleep!
Moments to remember.