It is the best.
As we geared up for January, December, therefore, was a very quiet month. Subdued, toned down, pared back. Because ... Europe. Quite honestly? December was also a grief filled month. Shoes and I have been trying to start our family for a long time now, and in early December, we thought we had it. You know? I mean, we really thought we had it and my mind had skipped forward to holding my precious infant and nurturing and diaper changes and attachment and bonding and ... and then we weren't. We weren't pregnant and all the feelings. (I'm not suggesting it was a miscarriage; it was most likely me reading my signs incorrectly.)
But oh, dear hearts. The grief. I mean, The Grief. As in, me sobbing on my bathroom floor and Shoes holding me gently by my shoulders quietly saying over and over and over and over again, "It's ok, it's ok, it's ok, it's ok."
I am ok, by the way. That was just a hard one.
So it was easy to look forward to leaving the country. In my concrete sequential way, I made my packing lists and my souvenir lists and researched what to see and where to eat. I made a complete list of phone numbers and addresses for my own mother, who watched our precious Rosie for us while we were away (Jesus Bless My Mom. I mean, really, please. Bless her.)
I typed out a detailed memo to the parents of my clients and ensured they had an assigned therapist covering their needs. I was ready. So ready.
And then, three days before we were set to leave, Charlie Hebdo was attacked and it seemed like our trip was in the air, suspended. Of course, that wasn't the most important thing. The most important thing was the loss of innocent, creative artistic souls.
I've been in politically unstable places before. Did you know that? I'm not sure if I've shared that before. My family moved to Clark Air Base in the Philippines exactly six months after the RAM coup attempt in 1989. That period of my middle school years was filled with armed guards, curfews and murders outside the base gates. All of those memories were triggered as we were waiting at the airport, ready to take the first leg of the flight to Rome.
We had all the wonderments about the safety about what we were doing. We weren't sure if we were going to be able to get to Paris after Rome. Weren't sure what was going to happen as we took off and landed.
We went anyway. Seattle to Chicago. Chicago to Paris. Paris to Rome. 22 hours of travel. It was exhausting. And exhilarating. The flights went beautifully, except for the very last leg of the trip, from Paris to Rome ....