When my family emerges from a vacation, we always look like we just came out of 2 years in a bomb shelter underground. We always seem to be squinting, re-adjusting our eyes to sunlight, and trying to get back to “normal.” We all have a shared experience, bonded a little more, but then we seem to want to get away from each other for a long long time.
This is how I felt today on our 6 hour drive home from Long Beach, CA to Phoenix. We had run out of conversation, and our kids were now asking us what it was like when we were growing up with only 4 channels on the TV, and whether or not we were “sad” that we grew up without You Tube. We tried to explain to them about La Macarena and how it was the “Gangham Style” of our generation. But then we all got quiet, and retreated into our digital devices (except for me, because I’m the driver. I always have to drive or I get really fidgety).
I was also starting to feel a little sad and nervous that we are leaving Jan. 1 for NYC. And wondering if I was absolutely crazy for taking all 3 kids by myself for the first few days. And wondering how I am going to take them all to the first rehearsal Jan. 2 for the meet and greet with the cast. Will Aidan start yelling “shut up” at Morticia and Gomez as he likes to do to people who don’t know him and tell him how much they love his curly hair? Will Lauren roll her eyes and say this is boring during the meeting I will have with Sam’s on set tutor after the cast meeting? And when is my mom coming to take them home?? Is it Jan. 3 or 4? And what am I bringing to the New Years Eve party tomorrow night? And how am I going to unpack for this trip, do laundry and re pack for NYC in one day AND get my Zumba class in????
And then as we crossed over from CA into AZ, we all looked up and saw the most beautiful rainbow any of us had ever seen. It was a double rainbow, actually, and we could see the entire rainbow, from beginning to end.
It took my breath away and I wondered what it meant. Mostly, it was just…magical. And it gave me hope for new beginnings. 2012 was a tough year for me. I lost two of the most important people in my life: my Uncle Bob, who died this summer, and my friend Audrey, who died this fall. I also saw several young friends get cancer, and watch them continue to fight the good fight every day. And I see couples I cherish getting divorced and worry about the kids caught in the middle.
This was a year of an angry, bitter election that caused many fights in our family (although my guy won and I was quite cheery, I was alone in my victory over here in AZ). This was a year where we no longer feel safe going to the movies, to the mall or sending our kids anywhere in the world.
And it was a year of watching my kids struggle with daily things, but things that were tough for them. Aidan started a new preschool, because it was easier for us to take him to a school that his older sister went to as well. But he had to say goodbye to his old preschool friends, and that was hard for him. And Lauren went away for a month to sleep away camp that she just didn’t love. And there is girl drama at school that seems to creep up every day in her 9 year old world.
And this was the year that I saw Sam go back and forth 6 times for callbacks for a Broadway show, end up in the final for the lead character, and be cut because he had grown an inch too tall for the role. Hard lesson at age 11. And though we were absolutely elated when Sam got the role in The Addams Family, I felt the struggle we all felt in our family trying to figure out if a 6 month touring role would be a good experience for us as a family.
When I recently went to temple and plagarized from the book they pass out at services (I have no idea what it’s called), the line that struck me the most was “Either you will go through this door or you will not go through. The door itself make no promises. It is only a door.”
We are given opportunities in our lives, but there is no guarantee what will happen on the other side of the door. Either you walk in and take it, or you don’t, but what happens when you open the door is up to you. And sometimes it is up to a power that is higher than you.
We decided as a family to open this door and take a trip somewhere over the rainbow. And I know it will be magical. And I’m sure it will be challenging too. But if we lose faith that there is still magic in this world, then we have lost the point of living.
So, here’s to tomorrow, the last day of 2012. May it be the end of evil witches and angry trolls, and the beginning of a year of pots of gold and happy ever afters.