First, the good news. I've got a couple of great kids. Getting to see them both over the last five days was tremendous fun. Seeing what kind of lives they are building for themselves made me quite proud. Although I still harbor a tinge of bitterness that they both settled so far from home, I have no right to complain. They are both accomplished, happy adults. What parent wouldn't want that?
Now, for the bad news. From the time I pried my stiff carcass out of the car upon arrival in Nashville, until that same stiff carcass rattled up the steps of my house a few hours ago, I have been in a death match with a three-day allergy attack. There were many contributing factors to my miserable condition. I will let the reader decide which was the actual culprit.
1. The weather in Nashville on Saturday and Sunday was probably the nicest two days that city has enjoyed in years; delightful breezes, crisp air, stunning blue skies. We arrived at Patrick's retiring house to see the van he had rented already in place and half loaded. There were only some large furniture pieces and neatly packed boxes left to load. We would be completely done with the loading and unloading by 12:30. However,....and life is always about the howevers, there was one problem. See, Patrick had shared this rental house for the past couple of years with two other bachelors, and a dog. A white dog. It was rumored that the house had a working vacuum cleaner, but no evidence of any kind that it had ever been deployed. Consequently, fluffy dog hair balls the size of large rodents drifted out from under every piece of furniture like roaches scattering in the kitchen when someone turns on the lights in the middle of the night. Maybe it was that.
2. Once we unloaded everything at his new place, I took a load of trash to the dumpster which was at the bottom of a small hill in a cul de sac just down the street from the apartment. When I turned around to walk back up the hill, I looked up and saw the bright sunshine illuminating a wall of pollen streaming down from the trees like an invading army of ants. A thick sludge of tree junk had been raining down all around me and I had only just now seen the evidence, thanks to the angle of the sun. This stuff made Short Pump pollen look positively polite by comparison. Maybe it was that.
3. Saturday night, high on Benydril, I attended a Nashville Sounds baseball game in the glorious dying sunset of a Chamber of Commerce day. We sat outside for the better part of two hours, all the while the invisible sludge was painting the inside of my respiratory system a lovely shade of lemon. Maybe it was that.
4. On Sunday morning, we went to Patrick's church, a glorious old stone building, with grand cathedral archways and stained glass windows a hundred feet above your head. The second I stepped into this beautiful building, I remarked to Pam how strange it is that all old churches, no matter their denomination, smell exactly the same...like polished wooden pews, candle wax and moldy curtains. Maybe it was that.
Somehow, despite this perfect storm of allergens, I was able by sheer force of will to stave off a full fledged meltdown. I took Allegra, and popped Benydril, which kept me in a slow motion stupor for much of the time, but I was somehow able to fight off the big one, that embarrassing, fifty sneeze extravaganza that leaves your eyes swollen shut and two boxes of spent Kleenex at your feet. I was just not going to allow anything to ruin my time with my kids. Now that I'm at home, I feel like I just ran a marathon carrying a fifty pound backpack.
Finally, a word about my son. This month he will turn 27. I watched him very carefully all weekend. The kid is...happy. He likes his job. He still pours himself into his music and is continuing to grow as a composer. We watched him during a rehearsal for a choir he is in and nobody on the stage seemed to be having as much fun as Patrick. He's also happy with Sarah. They fit each other so well. And now, he has his own place. The sky is the limit.
Now, if he can only learn how to run that brand new vacuum cleaner I bought him.