I just spent roughly 10 days on the road between business and pleasure and family. Come on, don’t tell me you aren’t quite sure where to place your family sometimes… Business? Pleasure? Somwhere in the middle? Nowhere it all? Life ebbs and flows. So does family. But this trip? Family and pleasure were one and the same.
Sandwiched in between a business trip to Pittsburgh, a business trip to Chicago, and a “Mom’s birthday/Father’s Day” trip to Salt Lake City (I’ll get to that piece of the trip in another post) was a sweet little jaunt to Denver to see my niece Farrah, her husband Jon, and their two children whom I had yet to meet. That was actually a source of tension for a little while. They grow up so damn fast, and I think Jon and Farrah were afraid I’d make it to high school graduation if I was lucky! But I couldn’t seem to make the flights and vacation and career allign for the trip. Until last week.
Farrah and I have history. Good history. Gutsy history. We played a great game of “Will and Grace” in Manhattan for a few years — studio apartments across the hall from each other in a three-floor walk-up. That’s it in the photo… Ugly blue floor on street level. Top two windows on the right. Shared memories. Shared keys. Shared microwaves. Shared guests. Great times. Apparently I switched from Will to “Dad” when Jon showed up in person after a few months of their “digital courtship” (can you blame me for my early doubts?) and grilled him unbeknownst to myself. I thought I was maintaining conversation and cordiality. Apparently I was all interrogation all the time.
Fast forward a number of years and I’m meeting Georgia and Graham for the first time. And I’m looking at them. And looking at Farrah. And looking at Jon. And looking at the kids again. And I’m thinking: 1) I am so very old (because clearly, I always come to mind first) and 2) Farrah and Jon are so very old (because I never want to be old alone) — weren’t we just in NYC living it up? and 3) these kids are too damn cute. Just too damn cute. Georgia is this willowy thing with a smile to just melt you. And Graham is this stiff, drooly guy with arms in constant tension mode and a face in constant observation mode. Now these descriptions may not seem to be the most affectionate, but they are. Completely. These little humans were absolutely mesmerizing. And then she left me alone with them.
Now I can handle kids with the best of them. I’m a pro. But I have to tell you that that hour-long yoga class taught me much more than it taught Farrah. I would say good bye to Farrah, turn around and look at the kids and think… I hope nothing goes horribly wrong while she’s gone. But as I sat there with one in my lap, two in my lap, one in chair, one in a purple prison (see photo), one in my arms, two in my arms, everything went wonderfully right, and I thought: There is no way I could do this. Every day. No way. And then I thought: Farrah and Jon do this every day. Gainfully employed. Full time. With a house. And a yard. And a commitment to their church. And they are doing it well. And consistently. And honestly. And that’s simply amazing. I called Chris and told him so. I don’t have what it takes to be the kind of parents I’m watching Jon and Farrah become. But I’ll keep watching. And loving every minute of it.