Tuesday, June 1, 2010

In 25 Hours ...

I will be home again from vacation. Travel for most people is a matter of dislike and inconveniecne, the process being a necessary evil to the ends of whatever lies abroad. For me, it is a physical hell. Motion sickness is, for those of us who experience it, a genuine suffering. Descent is what gets me. The lurch of deceleration, the loss of power to the plane's AC just when your body begins to overheat, the extremity of inescapable, hideous nausea. I'm not entirely joking when I say to people I would rather break a bone than endure the incomparable nature of descent airsickness. It is a source of real dread, a deeply awful sensation in every way. And it LASTS such a terribly long time.

On the flight from Cleveland to the Pacific Northwest, a five-hour run, we spent fully one hour of that in descent mode. I sat on the plane, nothing on but a summer camisole top, my hair tied as high on my head as I could get it (the lower it is, the more heat it builds up just at the back of the neck - ugh), fanning myself with the emergency card. The poor old couple next to me surely thought me a drama queen. But I'd rather draw knit-browed attention from strangers than actually barf in front of them. And it has come to that, more than once, for me.

So travel isn't something I go for happily - and connections (I have THREE legs on the way home ... and three descents to look forward to - whoopie) are worse than an irksome necessity. It takes a serious draw for me to endure all this ... and that guy on the first plane, with the unfettered gastrointestinal distress - who, apparently, had been eating cotton candy and corpses for breakfast ...


My family are a pretty serious draw, is what I am getting at here.

My nieces are twelve and five, and have always entranced me. The elder one is brilliant, poised, hilarious, energetic, wonderfully dorky, and wonderfully self-conscious. I love that girl in a way I love no other person on this earth. She is deep in my blood, I admire her, she draws affection out of me as if I were merely a spool filled with an endless line of it. I think she's one of the neatest people I've ever met, and one of the loveliest of the lot I am related to.

The younger is vivid, effusive, endlessly inventive. I can never get over the font of amazing things her brain comes up with, nor the incredible ways she is so absolutely her own. What a unique creature! What a darling one.

I didn't expect Little Bit to remember me, actually. It's been two years since she saw me, after all - and that is a long time.

So. When I got out of daddy's truck, and she clung to me, it was lovely. Amazing.

When I discovered she was weeping, to see ME, it was perfectly unbelievable.

I'm an affectionate person, highly so. My attachments are almost indelible, and I treasure those I love in a very definite way. Physical expressions of my affection are incredibly important. I miss this, now the girls live thousands of miles away. All I have is my mom and my dog. It isn't the same, and life is less without affection.

That hug from my youngest niece is a ranking moment in my life.

It lies already next to the similarly emotional moment when I said goodbye to the elder niece, when they moved. She held me a long time, ten back then - and speechlessly wept as we said goodbye. It was acute, it was sad and beautiful. It is among those signal moments which I never will forget, and which perfectly reflect the relationships I've been blessed with. My niece's tears, now twice, are the unforgettable measure of my love of them.

And, amazingly, of their love of me.

Nieces are the best invention, EVER.

I didn't think she would remember me.

Now I can hardly imagine leaving here. And not having that little head right here, to scoop up and love on. Not having the elder to roll her eyes and then fall into a natural embrace, walking along, nothing necessary to say.

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