What Does My Mother Think of All This Anyways?
I'd say it's fair to say that everyone knows how I feel about this adventure.
The past few weeks have been nothing short of a wind-blown, sun-kissed thrill. My eyes have been opened and I have felt myself being stretched in so many ways, but what about the other adventurer? What does mom have to say?
Here's a post written by my adventure partner, my co-pilot; my hero, The Marvelous Mad Madam Mim; Mom. Here's to the woman who survived rush hour traffic in NYC!
P.S. You should watch the video :)
The New York adventure.... from the other [wiser] set of eyes.
By Special Guest Rebecca Miles
Coney Island is a riot. A cacophony of sounds and smells and colors all clashing and smashing into one another. Salty waves crash into the shore wetting people in varying stages of undress who run shrieking and laughing.
The sharp smell of hot dogs with mustard combine with the sickly odor of over ripe garbage bins shot through with high, sweet notes of cotton candy and body odor.
Buskers compete with heavily muscled men carrying huge speakers blaring rap music and the screams of children and the screeching of metal on metal as the rides clang by. People covered in tattoos, bright bathing suits and umbrellas, blue waves glittering with strong sunlight and garish storefronts assault the eyes from every direction.
I am sitting on a bench watching my beautiful daughter running through waves in my grandmothers 1950s era swimming suit. She is in her element, embracing every bit of the chaos swirling about her while I sit with my feet in the sand wondering how on earth I got here.
I hear a loud squeal and turn to watch the rollercoaster as it goes thundering by carrying people with various degrees of horror or ecstasy plastered on their fast moving faces.
I see a father and daughter standing in line. He is smiling up at the rollercoaster reliving rides taken in his youth. He is confident and happy. His ten-year-old daughter is looking up too, but her expression tells me that she hasn’t been on this ride before and while anticipation is there, it is mingled with doubt and a bit of terror. And I realize that this is how I got here.
Seven years ago, almost to the day, my mundane every-day-the-same life suddenly turned into a crazy roller-coaster ride when my ten-year-old lost her father.
Moments of ecstasy, long stretches of terror, days of doubt; fear, joy anticipation twining round and round like the barrel roll on this ride.
So often I have closed my eyes tightly and prayed, “Please don’t let me fall and splat all over the pavement below! Please don’t let me fall!”
I see the girl and her father advance to the ride. He tucks her into the seat, double checks the fasteners and puts his strong arm around her. I see her bury her head in his shoulder as the ride picks up speed.
I ponder the last few months of my life. I have watched my oldest son get married to a wonderful girl who loves him. I have watched my second son graduate from OSU magna cum laude (with no debt!). I have watched my youngest stretch her wings in all directions from LA fashion week to graduating high school a year early with her associate’s degree.
The pace has been fast. Some of the turns have been sharp; sometimes joy and pride have been overwhelming, sometimes doubt and fear at the enormity of it all have threatened to overtake me. Some nights I have cried from sheer exhaustion.
And then there was a road trip. A trip that most of you have vicariously taken with us through Katherine’s words and pictures printed on a screen. She has already played you the high and sparkling notes of the melody. I might add the darker bottom notes of cramping muscles and throbbing head and tired eyes and sleepless nights in strange beds and the empty nothingness of miles passing but everything looking exactly the same or the sinking feeling in the stomach when Siri says, “rerouting”.
I might mention the sensation of leaving everything known and familiar 3000 miles behind, which at 17 is exciting and necessary, but doing it for the first time at 46 is nothing short of terrifying. I could talk about the nights when I asked myself, “What on earth do you think you are doing. Everyone is right. You have lost your ever loving mind!!!” Or of blinking into the dawn and moving forward out of sheer stubbornness. Or of driving into a city of 8 million people. All of whom were swarming all around me as I tried to navigate through deep canyons of skyscrapers without hitting any of them.
My mind is wrenched back to the present of Coney Island and the rollercoaster. The girl and her father are nearing the end of their ride. Their hands are held high over their heads, fingers splayed to the wind, faces split with huge grins and laughter is bubbling up from their toes. The girl is yelling, “Whoooooooo!” The dad is screaming, “What a ride!”
My rollercoaster has been quite a ride too. But through it all, in the joy and the tears and the mundane I have been sustained by this thought: I know the architect of this roller coaster. And I have learned to trust Him.
I trust that He knows every twist and turn and upside down piece of the tracks I’m on. And not only did He create the coaster, but He is the one in the seat beside me, checking my seat belt, placing His strong arm around my shoulder and asking me to hang tightly on to Him for the duration of the ride. I know there are many twists and turns and bumps and free falls yet ahead of me, but I know He will be there for those, too.
I look down at the ring on my right hand. It is engraved with the words, “Thus far…” A phrase taken from 1 Samuel 7:12 which says, “Thus far the Lord has carried us.” And over and over again I have found that to be true.
So for this moment, in this wild and wonderful place that is Coney Island, with my feet in the sand and the sun on my face I punch my hands high over my head, fingers splayed in the wind and whoop, “What a ride!”