Frustration, fear, anxiety. These are just a few of the emotions that revealed themselves last night as my Mom and I hung up the custom curtains, the final step of the conversion. We’ve spent 2 nights working on these, her exhausted from balancing work and driving over to me, me getting anxious and acknowledging fears as my leave day once again came and went by while still at home.
When we hung the curtains up last night, at 9pm, we realized that THEY WERE COMPLETELY SEE THROUGH. Some curtains. I started tearing up, verbalizing whether or not this is meant to be, whether or not I’m making a huge mistake by spending my savings on this trip. The curtains are a safety function. Without them complete, I cannot go. And believe me when I say that I have skills, but sewing is not one of them. My Mom was exhausted and thought I was blaming my belated leave date on her. I absolutely wasn’t, so I immediately apologized and explained again what I was feeling. Her and my “little sister” Simone pointed out how hard I’ve worked at preparing this and we all began joking and laughing about my brief fit. Mom went home on a good note, with a plan to help fix it all today.
Simone and I pass time frequently in what we call “car therapy” which is basically us driving to a comfy spot, and talking about all of our woes, dreams, and hopes for about an hour or 2. After the fit, she promptly suggested we do this. She attempted to sit in the passenger seat, and saw my favorite picture of Dad (I was cleaning out glove boxes to clear space earlier in the day).
This is a favorite picture because it sums up Dad so well. He’s one month away from 26 years old, back from Vietnam, dressed like a clean hippie, sitting around a table with his brother and best friends, eating, drinking a beer, lounging with people he enjoys. His face stares forward with a mixture of emotions, there’s a calm sadness at the same time there’s playful curiosity. Juxtaposition–the way he always seemed to feel despite his wanting simplicity. He may be rolling a joint, but this is unclear as he leans forward, poised as he always was.
I had considered removing this from my car, as I don’t want sun and heat to ruin the only copy. But I couldn’t do it. Instead, it was left on the passenger seat, where Simone found it, picked it up, and chuckled. “Maybe it’s your Dad holding up your trip. Look at the date on this picture.” August — 1978.
You’re going to learn a lot about yourself on this trip. This thought rang loudly as I realized that Dad was asking my to let go of control and trust. Trust in the process, trust in the timing. Trust in the memories forming. Live more in the moment with the calm sadness (if necessary) and playful curiosity that my Dad showed 41 years ago. Love the ride, there’s only one round, after all.