charlotte / in short.
not unlike last year, this year’s trip to charlotte for jack’s birthday didn’t turn out quite like i’d planned. thankfully, i’ve had a lot of practice with what to do when life doesn’t look like i thought it would. this curveball may have rearranged my week, but it didn’t throw me off my game.
in short, i got a migraine less than 24 hours after i arrived and only a few hours into jack’s birthday. without getting into the details, i will just say that the pain was intense and lingered around for a full 72 hours. i arrived friday night, but tuesday felt like my first actual day there.
i was there for the balloons, for the unveiling of the truck (“tuk tuk”), for the blippi glasses excitement, and then i was out.
the first time i came downstairs and was an active human being again, jack’s whole face lit up and luca gasped and said, “is it really you?!” and that, i think, adequately describes what those three days were like. we saw each other, but i wasn’t who they know me to be. i can’t apologize for the choices i made to prioritize my own needs above everything else for those three days, but i also can’t get back those days and the moments i missed out on because of it. some days the contrast is more drastic than other days, but isn’t that the tension we’re always living with? i feel like i am constantly learning how to navigate the push and pull, while holding both at the same time.
the only thing i can say about those three days is, in spite of the deep sadness and disappointment i feel at how this situation played out, i’m not carrying the weight of it. there is grace and redemption, even for things like a migraine and a missed birthday party.
this was the weekend hurricane florence whipped through charlotte, and there was much talk (and prayer) about should i or should i not still drive to charlotte that weekend? everyone i mentioned it to asked why – “isn’t that going in the wrong direction?” i answered this question a dozen times before i left.
so, although pointless, it’s not unreasonable to consider: was it the wrong choice? the question hangs in the air and, paired with the information that a change in weather (like a hurricane) is an actual cause of migraines, i can’t help but wonder about it. would i have gotten a migraine had i not gone to charlotte? i will never know. i do know that i would never have made a different choice, given the information i had. jack’s birthday trumped everything else i knew i was risking.
my answer now is the same as it was then: it’s the right direction.
ever since i cut jack’s cord, i feel like we’ve been best friends. is it just me? i have no idea. but the way he consistently calls out for “EEE!” (auntie) and reaches up for me in the mornings – for nothing other than to be in my arms – and passes me a balloon, a vacuum cleaner, or a weed wacker to play along with him makes me want to melt into a puddle.
the night before i left, T and lee went on a date and i got to hang out with them all by myself. these nights are always my favorite.