Today we returned from our first family vacation as a family of three — a spring break trip to Palm Springs that we planned months ago, then canceled when we got Julian’s diagnosis, then un-canceled a couple of weeks ago. It was also a crash course in how to go into a restaurant and say, “table for three.”
I’ve been focusing so hard on what I consider to be the “big” things, like donating most of Julian’s toys and clothes, I hadn’t really prepared myself for the “little” things, like asking for a table at restaurant. Or realizing that when I canceled Julian’s airplane ticket, I didn’t ask the agent to make sure we ended up with three seats together. So instead, we ended up with two aisles and a window.
On both flights, I had to ask the person assigned to the middle seat if they’d mind taking the other aisle seat, so we could have the row of three. Of course I didn’t say out loud the rest of the sentence that was automatically completed in my head: “…because this middle seat was originally assigned to our other son, who died a month ago.”
On the flight out to CA, I was able to focus on the positive. I noticed that it was sort of nice that we had a row to ourselves, and I had the luxury of sitting by the window instead of how we often used to arrange ourselves, with me in the middle seat between the two boys, and John across the aisle.
But on today’s flight home, I wasn’t prepared for how that same conversation with a stranger would make me cry through the take-off and most of the rest of the flight.
Even thinking about it now makes me aware, again, of the challenge of wanting to move forward *and* wanting to honor him. I so easily become critical of myself — how can I sit here, enjoying the window seat, when I’d give anything to have HIM sitting here, and me complaining about getting stuck in the middle seat?
And that’s just the thing. Of course I’d rather have him here. Of COURSE. I’m not trying to convince myself that we are somehow better off now, because we can fit in one row on an airplane.
But, the fact is, there will be some nice things about being a family of three. And I have to remind myself that it’s ok to notice this. I have to literally give myself permission.
So, I’m doing that now: I give myself permission to miss him terribly, and cry through a 3-hour plane ride, and enjoy the view from my window seat.
I’d love to know who visits my blog, and I’d especially like to know if you have any thoughts or comments about it. If you’d like to post a comment or just let me know you were here, click the “Comment” below to get access to a comment box and a “like” button. Just like on Facebook, you can “like” the post as a method of saying hi.
If you’d like to send me a private message, use the comment box but start with the word “Private.”