The Growing Season: A Stroll Through Savannah (continued)

This is the latest installment of The Growing Season. For the other installments please click here.

We reach the lighthouse at Tybee Island and decide to climb (slowly, for my sake) to the top. Once we’ve reached the summit, we enjoy the fact that we’re the only three there and stand at the railing in silence to admire the view of the Atlantic coastline.

“How does it feel to be in the presence of a real ocean?” I tease Jack, who has thrown his arm around me.

He turns his head back and forth as if scanning the scene. “Where?”

I stare out at the sea, gray in the winter, and wonder how many souls have found their way back home by the light of the structure in which we’re standing. I’ve only ever felt safe in the ocean, whether swimming at the shoreline or ensconced in a reliable vessel, but I can relate to being lost. Lately, though, that feeling of being disconnected—and all the fear it carries with it–hasn’t hung heavy over my head like it did a couple of short months ago. I wonder if it’s just the passage of time, my body’s acceptance of what it can’t change, but I know better than to believe that my current peace is purely biological. I look to Matt on my left, the brother who always seemed to wander and search, and see that he has found a spot to land. I feel Jack’s arm surrounding me, enfolding me in his warmth and providing for me now in so many ways. And I think of Mirabelle back home, the source of assurance and wisdom she has been in a garden that is far from complete but exactly where should be in its progress. I know that I am too.

We descend the lighthouse stairs a little while later and drive around the coast before we head further inland to have lunch at The Crab Shack. Over baskets of fried seafood, Matt and Jack continue their time-honored tradition of poking fun at me.

“I can’t wait for you to get married,” I tell Matt. “Finally we’ll even things out around here—another girl for my team.”

“Your side will still be at our mercy,” Matt warns. “I know way too much dirt on the two of you, and Jack and I will use that to our advantage in the gender wars.”

I sigh. “You’re so immature.” Then—“Does Elise have dirt?”

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Career Opportunities for Daleks

In just a few weeks (or rather, 18 days but who’s counting), the ninth season of Doctor Who will premier. As we ANTICIPATE this momentous occasion, our nerdy editrix teamed up with a fellow Whovian to imagine a series of career opportunities for Daleks. You know, to do something besides PERPETRATE genocide throughout the universe. This is by no means an exhaustive list–we left off some key jobs like accountant (CALCULATE) and pharmacist (MEDICATE) and included some that are utterly absurd…

Barista

 

Barista

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The Growing Season: Lighthouse Conversations

This is the latest installment of The Growing Season. For the other installments please click here.

We reach the lighthouse at Tybee Island and decide to climb (slowly, for my sake) to the top. Once we’ve reached the summit, we enjoy the fact that we’re the only three there and stand at the railing in silence to admire the view of the Atlantic coastline.

“How does it feel to be in the presence of a real ocean?” I tease Jack, who has thrown his arm around me.

He turns his head back and forth as if scanning the scene. “Where?”

I stare out at the sea, gray in the winter, and wonder how many souls have found their way back home by the light of the structure in which we’re standing. I’ve only ever felt safe in the ocean, whether swimming at the shoreline or ensconced in a reliable vessel, but I can relate to being lost. Lately, though, that feeling of being disconnected—and all the fear it carries with it–hasn’t hung heavy over my head like it did a couple of short months ago. I wonder if it’s just the passage of time, my body’s acceptance of what it can’t change, but I know better than to believe that my current peace is purely biological. I look to Matt on my left, the brother who always seemed to wander and search, and see that he has found a spot to land. I feel Jack’s arm surrounding me, enfolding me in his warmth and providing for me now in so many ways. And I think of Mirabelle back home, the source of assurance and wisdom she has been in a garden that is far from complete but exactly where should be in its progress. I know that I am too. Continue reading

Traveling with Kids

Before I became a novice at parenting, I was an expert at it. Prior to having kids, I imagined family vacations spent relaxing on a beach while my angelic children played quietly in the sand nearby. It took one trip away before that illusion was shattered like the screen of a parent’s iPhone.

via businessinsider.com

Because I married someone from California, and because our son has needs that have especially suited him for a physician in that same state, and because my crying and pleading got me absolutely NOWHERE, our family of four found ourselves headed cross-country recently with–count ‘em!–approximately ten hours spent on a plane and eighteen in a car. Take that, John McCain and other survivors of “torture”!* Struggling through nearly two weeks spent away from home reduces personal standards to a level called Just Survive. If there’s one thing parents know how to do, it’s pick–battles and noses. And I’ve done both at thirty thousand feet. Since we achieved our goal of surviving what some call a vacation but should more aptly be described as a little slice of hell, I now bequeath to you my newly-minted expert advice on traveling with children. As always, you’re welcome.

KNOW YOUR SURROUNDINGS

Because my three-year-old deals with some anxiety issues (one of my earliest gifts to him), I created a book of pictures to prepare him for our trip. I showed him the airport, the plane, and the places we’d be staying to familiarize him with our coming surroundings, which would not include his favorite trucks and stalwart supplies.

I needed the book too.

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The Growing Season: A Stroll Through Savannah

This is the latest installment of The Growing Season. For the other installments please click here.

The next day, Jack and I walk around Savannah, taking plenty of breaks to sit down in the multiple squares and check out the architecture that’s described in the pamphlets we picked up at the inn by words like “Gothic-Revival” and “Italianate.” After awhile, we decide to give up on the tedium of educating ourselves and head to the tourist trappings of River Street, where we pop in and out of the candy and souvenir shops and admire the water view. We stop for lunch at a restaurant with a deck overlooking the river and South Carolina in the distance and share fried seafood. Jack lets me take a sip of his beer, and I’m pretty sure I’m in heaven.

We take an indulgent nap in the afternoon at the inn, then show up for a repeat performance at tea because honestly—when else will we get the chance to eat pastries off of fine china in a nineteenth-century Southern mansion again? Although there is the probability that, were I not in my condition, we would have opted for a bar instead. Apparently this baby is broadening our cultural horizons. After tea, we’re fueled up for our ghost tour that evening, and show up for the terribly touristy (and enjoyable, because we don’t know anyone here so who cares?) trolley ride around the historical district, listening to the tour guide tell reality-defying ghost stories. Jack mentions that this would be even better with a flask, and I have to agree, but I guess we have to grow up sometime. Short of that, it’s a perfect day.

Followed by another one: Matt picks us up the next morning and we drive out to Tybee Island, which is sparse this time of year but I don’t mind. There’s something healing about being in the salty air; Nana must have been right. The further we get from town and the closer we are to the beach, I feel something lift inside me; an expansive sense of well-being takes over, and my concerns—lack of an income, no response yet from Cara, maintaining an uncomplicated pregnancy, becoming a mother—melt away. Matt’s pointing out landmarks as we drive, and I watch as Fort Pulaski and Bonaventure Cemetery pass by our windows. There is an eerie stillness in this coastal area that is enjoyed en masse during warmer months, but considering how solitary my recent weeks have been, I feel very much at home. Matt’s narration is steady and reveals not only an impressive body of recently acquired knowledge, but a deep affinity for his new stomping grounds.

“So you’re pretty happy here, huh?” I ask him when he reaches a break in the tour.

He’s smiling as he keeps his eyes on the road. “Yeah. Guess you could say I’ve got a lot going for me in these parts.”

“Yeah, man, Elise is great,” Jack offers. “When’s the wedding?”

Matt laughs. “Well, we’re not on the Jack-Merritt six-month plan, but it’s not going to take forever, either. We’ve talked about it in vague terms, but enough to know we’re both certain this is it. Beyond that, I think she wants the timing to be a surprise.”

“But you’re going to tell me all the details, right?” I probe, only partially kidding. Considering he’s a guy, Matt is relatively communicative, but I’m the one who initiates phone calls and most information-sharing. His role is usually as responder, but with enough prodding I can really get him talking.

He rolls his eyes at me. “You’ll know enough, let’s put it that way,” he says. “And don’t worry—I won’t overshadow your upcoming childbirth with any engagement news. I see it happening later in the summer. And that’s all I’m going to say.”

“That’s enough,” I reply. “For now.”