It's always incredibly hard to leave my sister and her family. It's the most deeply painful illustration of how nothing lasts forever that I've ever experienced, and ever will until I have my own kids. Whenever I go, it's for a full week, and I get immersed. The outside world mostly ceases to exist. I'm in baby land. It's nonstop, it's exhausting, it's wonderful. I know I can't stay there forever - I have my own life and a city that I truly love. But when I'm in it, I want to stay there forever.
It was sort of a holdover, a respite from the stark and frightening post-election reality we find ourselves living in. Coming back doesn't just mean back to work or back to a normal routine, but back to facing fully head-on the challenges ahead and how I can be of help. It's overwhelming. It's jumping back into the process of processing the results and what it means for the future all over again, only halfway through.
But - nothing lasts forever. Life is change. My heart breaks when I think about all the cute and funny things the kids say and do and how the next time I see them, some of them might still be but others will be outgrown. Replaced by new routines. Same kids, same personalities, but so wildly different from visit to visit. When I leave, I'm not just sad that I won't see them again for a little while but that I'll never see that version of them again.
Marc and I were given a surprising gift coming back from the visit on Friday - our plans to meet our sweet month-old nephew Lucas and visit newly two-year-old nephew Caleb were thwarted by the nasty colds we got from Atlas, Zoe, & Kai - we wound up with a weekend together. Two days in a row. Off. Together. Not off with one of us chasing one kid in one direction and the other chasing the other two kids in two other directions, but off. God knows the last time that happened. A weekend to heal, to recover, to reflect on our wonderful week and the challenges ahead. We did what any normal couple would do - we watched all six hours of the masterpiece that is Angels in America.
Everything it says about love, change, God, politics, family, relationships, New York City, America, good, evil, the world...it feels so relevant in every facet of life these days. Go back and watch it. Go back and read it. It offers hope, comfort, catharsis, inspiration. Go.
I'll close this disjointed, rambling, vague piece with one of the last monologues of Angels, one that never fails to bring me to tears. Happy, sad - all at once. Emphasis mine.
“Night flight to San Francisco; chase the moon across America. God, it’s been years since I was on a plane. When we hit 35,000 feet we’ll have reached the tropopause, the great belt of calm air, as close as I’ll ever get to the ozone. I dreamed we were there. The plane leapt the tropopause, the safe air, and attained the outer rim, the ozone, which was ragged and torn, patches of it threadbare as old cheesecloth, and that was frightening. But I saw something that only I could see because of my astonishing ability to see such things: Souls were rising, from the earth far below, souls of the dead, of people who had perished, from famine, from war, from the plague, and they floated up, like skydivers in reverse, limbs all akimbo, wheeling and spinning. And the souls of these departed joined hands, clasped ankles, and formed a web, a great net of souls, and the souls were three-atom oxygen molecules of the stuff of ozone, and the outer rim absorbed them and was repaired. Nothing’s lost forever. In this world, there’s a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we’ve left behind, and dreaming ahead. At least I think that’s so.”
The world only spins forward, as Prior says. Let's keep doing the good work.