Regarding Arizona, briefly.

Monday, January 18th 10 at 2:21 pm Leave a comment

I think it’s fair to say that our trip to Arizona was an overall success. And oh, what a relief that is. In the weeks leading up to it, I couldn’t alleviate my growing anxiety. Anxiety over meeting my Poppa’s wife for the first time; for seeing my mom and how she would treat Kristi and I, as well as how seeing how sick she truly is; and for seeing my brother who usually tends to come off a little intense. I’ve always been a fairly calm person, not prone to extreme expressions of emotion; and the longer I’m with Kristi, the more time I spend with her family, the more mellow I get. Sometimes I’m not really sure how my mom and brother are my blood because for the most part, we are very little alike when it comes to personality. But in the end, everything went quite smoothly.

We flew out Tuesday afternoon and it was Kristi’s first time flying. Her mom always told her never to fly because it would crash. I suspect that is because her mom was awesome and listened to too much Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens, who died in the same plane crash. Fortunately though, except for some turbulence mid-flight which had her pretty spooked, the flight was fine and I think in time, I’ll even be able to get her to fly to New York. Meeting my grandfather’s wife, Xin, was wonderful. They’ve been married for nearly two and a half years and it seemed so ridiculous that it took that long for us to meet. But I was very happy to see what a truly sweet person she is and how she cares for my grandfather. Who knew that there were two women in the world who would peel his fruit – and he’d be lucky enough to marry them both. Our time with them was very short, but it was really spectacular.

He drove us up to Prescott Valley on Wednesday morning and we stopped for breakfast at the Cracker Barrel. We talked about politics (how did such a republican marry such a democrat that was my gramma?), the Beatles (george is his favourite too), lots about Xin (his favourite subject), and my mom (i think we are the only ones who completely understand each other’s perspectives). That drive and conversation with him was the best part of those so fast and long two days.

Every time I see my brother Luke, it’s like seeing a new person. When I moved to California almost six years ago, he was a tall but skinny kid with a mullet. And now he towers above me at six feet tall, with hair down past his shoulders and is a solid, huge mass of muscle. He’s quiet and gentle and compassionate in a way that he wasn’t even three years ago. His artistic ability has grown and changed so much that I almost couldn’t believe the things he’d drawn. With all the things he’s been through, it amazes me that he’s grown into such a tender and level-headed guy. I’m so incredibly proud of him and I truly hope he knows that.

However, seeing my mom was a mixture of sadness and goodness. She came running out to me, all hair and eye shadow and not much more. She’s so incredibly skinny that I just know inside me that anorexia has claimed her again. It’s devastating to see this… ghost of my mother say that, at a size two, she needs to lose even more weight. Arms so thin my fingers can close around them, body so small my arms could wrap around her a time and a half, ribs. The hardest part is knowing that somewhere underneath all of it, my mom is still there. It’s just been such a long time since we’ve seen her that I hardly remember her, and I’m sure Luke doesn’t at all. We’ll have her back someday soon, right? Won’t we?

Our time with them was only an afternoon but it’s always nice to go back home and see how things have changed, and see familiar, memory laden things. We drove into town and got dinner at Thaifoon (which is the only good thai food i’ve found [it doesn’t exist in Bakersfield], i used to eat it at least twice a week when i lived at home), and went and bought a ton of incense (which we also can’t find here).  Before we left, mom was giving me a haircut (which has turned out to be the butchest thing I’ve ever had on my head) and a little bird flew into the house. It was scared and flying all around the dining room and kitchen, landing on a fan blade for a moment before trying to find escape again. Luke was trying to gently catch it so that he could put it back outside. It eventually found its way out, but a few minutes later, it was back. After a minute, Luke came to us, holding it in his hands wrapped in a blanket. It was dead and he was so quiet. We moved to the bathroom and he came in after about ten minutes – his back was wet because it was raining a little and his face was wet because he cried burying it. I hugged him so tight and told him that it was okay, trying my best to make him believe that he wasn’t bad because of an accident when he was trying to help. As I sat there, I looked at him standing in the corner with his face red, trying not to sob aloud. He wasn’t this eighteen year old guy anymore for me then, he was just my baby brother and I loved him. And then I knew for certain that – despite everything he’s been through, especially in the last few years – that he is going to be okay.

We said our goodbyes an hour later than we intended to and drove Luke home on our way out. We left for home in my new truck and ran into a little bit of rain, a little bit of snow and a lot of wind. Although our visit was very short, it was nice. My mom talked with us about our desire to have a baby soon, she kept saying “the wedding,” and she repeatedly grabbed Kristi’s hand and kissed her ring. So I guess in the end, she can have that PFLAG award for outstanding parental support. But now I just need her to get better. Get better, be happy, and live. That’s all I want for all of us.

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Thoughts on marriage and Disneyland. My nerves will be the death of me, I know.

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