Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Leaving on a jet plane

For our 26th wedding anniversary tomorrow, I got Amy a plane ticket to England. I made her pay for half, but I got myself one too, so I think it still counts as romantic, sweet, etc.

Amy has never left America before and I've never smuggled a whole person to the UK yet, but unlike me, she actually looks like her passport photo. I didn't have a raucous beard when I took mine and am betting she gets less enhanced pat downs than I get. (The key is to keep smiling and addressing the TSA agent by name, so they will feel as uncomfortable as you.)

The trip has a bittersweet feel to it. We've never been on a two week excursion before without the kids, who both moved out a month ago, and then on our way back from the UK, we'll be stopping in NY to see my dad whose health has not been so well. 

I'm fortunate my work will cover the stay over part of the trip, but would have paid anything to see him again. The older you get, the more you realize how finite this life truly is and want to devote yourself more to the people in it. I also think if my body hurts this bad at 46, I cannot imagine what it feels like for my dad at 71.

He is relatively young for being so disabled, but a head injury from a car crash 8 years ago hastened his becoming invalid with the symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia. I am sure when he was 46, he had no idea what would be his lot in just a quarter century. I wish I had something more poignant to say about it all, but I am just reminded how life is so full of pain yet interspersed with such moments of joy and satisfaction.

I partially assumed my kids would still live in my house until they were 50, and that has already proven wrong for now.  Part of me worried I would never get Amy to buy a passport and leave America and that is now happening. With my severe chronic pain, I am not the most cheerful traveler on a one week intercontinental trip, let alone two. So her patented patience and grace will be put to the test.

I am only a little stupid, so I know how lucky I am to be joined by my wife of 26 years across the globe. She has the added stress of her dad tearing a tendon just a few days ago and suddenly becoming almost completely disabled. She's at his house now caring for him and trying to arrange support for him while we are gone for two weeks.  When I found her a quarter century ago, I knew she was incredible, but her strength never ceases to amaze and inspire me.

As I enjoy one of my last cigars and whiskey on my American back porch for several weeks without howling corgis, I am forced to posit the things that mean most to me. I think you know.