Yesterday I got one of those gifts. One that I will treasure for as long this brain works enough for me to remember it.
Our family has taken the Amtrak train from Portland to Seattle a half dozen times. We always have fun. The train trip is as much, if not more, of the fun than getting to the city. We read, talk, sleep, write letters, play games, look out the window and just enjoy being together. One year we even took my mom with us and that was wonderful, albeit a little exhausting as we also took a wheelchair with us and pushed her in it since every trip includes a great deal of walking.
Yesterday I rode the train to Seattle again, but this time only with Nicole. She had bought tickets for a trip six months ago for her and Jon and since they were no longer together, she had an extra. She asked me to go with her in early January and I finally said no, because frankly, I didn't believe I could do it physically. Too many health issues going on and not enough energy.
About three weeks ago, I said I had changed my mind. I wanted to go. I felt far better and 30 lbs. lighter. I had struggling with vertigo for two weeks, but it was improving, so I said let's go.
So, we did. And the world saw that this was an important moment for us and so (1) my vertigo virtually disappeared, (2) I got a check in the mail the day before for some spending money, and (3) it was SUNNY in Seattle (even more surprising than in Portland at this time of year). Nicole and I both know that she is leaving in just over a week and that that moment is going to be agonizingly difficult for both of us and this was a chance to spend the day together.
It was a letter perfect day. We went to some great places, riding the Monorail, checking out the Space Needle, hitting a stationery store . . . . but even better, we laughed and cried and talked and then did it all over again. We laughed so hard, it hurt. We cried talking about the changes approaching. We aired fears and worries and reassured each other. We even managed to get completely lost, on the wrong elevator, and found it hysterically funny.
Coming home was sobering. This trip to Seattle had been what we focused on, letting her departure date fade into the near future, and now the trip was over. And you know, it's not going to be any easier to say goodbye to this child. Hell, I cry even typing the words. But I am also resting safe in the knowledge that the bond she and I share can weather any changes, any distance, anything. It is stronger than steel and absolutely cannot be damaged. It can shift, it can mature, it can deepen, but no mere miles will make even the slightest dent. And what an AMAZING gift that is, eh?
Tea in the fridge, darlin girl.