Family Visit – Day Three

The garden we toured, originally created by a world renowned horticultural superstar, who still consults and volunteers for the local Indian tribe who now owns it, was a delight. The family elders enjoyed what we saw of it, and were very interested in what I shared with them about the plantings. I joined the garden organization, and plan on returning to take in the rest of the 15 acres. Mom, and my aunt and uncle weren’t able to to stroll every trail for a number of reasons: Sun, attention span, and internally produced distraction being among them. It’s ok… That they all really, really enjoyed their time there is a huge takeaway. A bonus for me was chatting with the garden founder for a moment, and recalling for him an evening which he presented a talk for the non-profit I worked for in 2015, and sharing that this was my first visit, and had brought my out-of-town family. He is a kind, brilliant, and gracious man. Someone who pauses to pay attention and thank you for being where you are.

We moved on to lunch at a local restaurant whose name did not inspire confidence, but whose reviews were stellar. Despite mom’s distaste for her soup, the chef did not disappoint. At this point it was clear to me that my cousin and his GF were antsy. After the three of us ordered, and the elders were still dithering over the menu, holding up the line, I suggested the kids sit at the bar, and the rest of us would take a booth. The booths only held four, so it was perfect. My cousin kinda let down his shoulders and said, “We see my parents a lot, but this is the most time we’ve spent with them, ever. Like, since I lived with them.” I said I completely understood. The two of them seemed glad of the respite.

Today I was better at handling the dithering and catastrophizing. When our ferry was docking, a great amount of hand wringing and folks talking over each other fired up regarding where the cars were. Rather than attempt to untangle the conversation, I said, loudly, “Follow Me!!!” And walked toward the exit we needed to use. Everyone fell in line. As we headed back to the ferry, I arranged for my uncle and family to get mom back to the AL community, and immediately laid out what would happen tomorrow. My cousin’s GFlooked at me and said, “Yay! We have a plan! We have two plans!” Even with the direct communication, my aunt, who has her shit together, got all alarmed that mom got in my car. I had to remind her that we were heading to the ferry, and only upon disembarking the boat did it matter that mom was in their car. I think this style of communication is habit.

Mom did really well. She enjoyed the drive, with the top down, up to the AIRBNB to rendezvous with everyone. She only once delved into taboo territory, buying a car, which I was able to distract her out of after five sentences. She smiled a lot. It made me wish she could be like this all the time.

For my part, I’m better this evening than yesterday evening. Kinda fragile somehow, but not wrung out.

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