I have just arrived home from the adventure of the year--or at least of the last few months. Where did this adventure take me, you ask? You might be surprised to hear that the adventure of recent history took place in a mystical place called, are you ready for this? Dayton, Ohio.
My dear sweet grandmother is turning 89 years old today, which is a significant birthday! (Seems like they all are, after a certain age!) but it seems even moreso because my dear sweet grandmother is also battling Alzheimer's. It seems a little unfair, because we all know it is a battle you can't win. But she keeps hanging on. Each time I see her I know it may be my last, and I honor it as such. It's hard to see her so much deteriorated from he feisty, sassy woman I remember from my childhood, who my mom said I was so like. It doesn't so much seem like an adventure, Butthis visit was special because I also wanted my most precious little daughter to get to meet her great-grandmother while she still can, so the adventure came when I bought myself a plane ticket, packed up our things, and Jason dropped us off at the airport.
In grand adventure fashion, the story started with excitement, Jason charging us through Atlanta traffic only to have us arrive just late enough to watch the flight take off without us. Perhaps it wasn't that dramatic, but we missed our flight and were booked for the next one, some 3 hours later. Adria and I entertained ourselves well for the 3 hour delay--naturally we were both still fresh! But after boarding and another almost hour delay, both our patience and stamina was wearing thin. (Good thing we were seated next to a bonafide rapper to make the flight a little more manageable!) Seriously, Adria was an incredible trooper, and only fussed as the plane descended--hard on my grown-up ears, understandably hard on her!
My mom (who MADE the earlier flight) picked us up and was able to meet us at the gate, what a treat! By the time we arrived at the hotel it was time to crash, and Adria slept in our room while mom and I listened through the monitor and ate pizza in her room.
The next day was the reason we came--adventure or not, we came to see my grandma, and I couldn't have scripted a sweeter time. With much love, my grandma has become more baby-like herself these days, and as strange as that is to say, she and Adria seemed to understand each other from first glance. Grandma and my uncle actually met us at the entrance to the (very nice!) nursing facility Grandma is in now, and responding to my joy and surprise at seeing them and being greeted that way, Adria beamed and cooed at them both, and my grandma beamed and cooed back to us. I don't remember if I hid my tears, I don't remember if I tried to. It is so bittersweet seeing her like that--she's absolutely precious, and my dear grandma is still in there, but of course it's not the same--she doesn't speak anymore, and stayed so tired our visiting came in spurts, and the chatter was of course one sided, but in her face and her eyes she still showed her delight, and seeing her delight in MY greatest delight, well, as imperfect as it was, it was also pretty pure, and I couldn't have asked for it to go better.
To be honest, I'm so glad Adria took right to her and wasn't afraid. I suppose I needn't have worried--Adria was climbing over her and reaching out to hold and lick her hand by the time we left. For me it was still a great adventure, because going into it I had no idea... But I suppose there really is something natural and lasting about family--if we'll let it be so.
Not to downplay the significance of Adria and my air travel. As it turns out that was the greatest part of our adventure, with a TIRED girl (naps not being included in our itinerary), tired of travel and being strapped in places (car seat, stroller, high chair, etc) tired of being constrained to her mother's control and lap while the air itself seemed to revolt in her head as we ascended and descended. My poor crying, uncomfortable baby in the air, yet my sweet, smiley, happy social baby as soon as we landed. I don't care--i'm a mama and much more concerned with her comfort than those around me! She did great, and if I'm still processing--the stress, the significance of our little visit, the sweetness, well I don't think anyone could blame me for that!