I am flying over the Atlantic Ocean. My daughter is sitting beside me. She turned eleven years old four days ago. She is reading a book about cat warriors. I am drinking a vodka tonic and reading the first novel I have opened since my last trip to Vegas five months ago. I have bought a dozen books in the interim. I have even gone so far as to read ten pages of several, but I have never actually been able to focus enough to lose myself in another world, another author's vision. The distractions of pain, of worry, always cause the wheels inside my head to turn, my concentration dims, my imagination flutters and I shut the book. I usually pause with the spine of the book in my lap and take a deep breath. It saddens me.
Today my book lies open on page thirty-eight. This is a good sign. A rebirth. I am pausing to pour the second half of my mini bottle over the slick ice cubes. A splash of tonic and a quick swirl of the red stir stick. I am savoring the moment of reading, of allowing myself to relax - and the grace to heal in the process - the same way I savor the taste and effect of the drink.
I have no plans on this trip to do anything other than swim through the reefs and further the education and experience of my children. However, I suspect that this trip will hold much more.
The last time we visited Elbow Cay, KK was 8, Zander 5, and Iz 3. Now they are 11, 8 and 6 respectively. I will be interesting to watch the differences in their level of bravery on the open water and under it. I expect their level of exploration and inquisitiveness will have grown.
KK was fearless last trip. That will not change. Zander will hopefully dive into the ocean with vigor and enthusiasm - he first put his head under the water with mask and snorkel on his last day of the '07 trip.Izzie is fearless and I expect she will take to snorkeling immediately.
I am so proud of my children and so relaxed and happy to be sharing this adventure with them. I is a joy to have this unfettered time with them - no schedules, no school, no deadlines or worries - and their presence is comforting and life-affirming. I exist to pass on my particular skills and insights to them, to help them learn to read people and situations, how to manage fear and desire, how to use the resources they have in ways that help them grow far beyond the basic raw materials they have been given. I want to teach them how to learn, instill a love of change and growth inside them, and encourage them to dream big - and make it happen.
I could not ask for better travel companions.
They are now getting excited about the green water and reefs visible beneath the airplane. I am going to sip my drink and return o the sweet indulgence of a good novel.