We are in Ithaca with my family for the first holiday since Taran was born. Until now, we haven't had the guts to attempt the 8 hour drive in the winter with a child who starts vociferously complaining about his car seat 10 minutes into a drive. This year we decided that he was old enough so that, even if we were slowed down by snow, we could talk him through the trip.
I'm so happy to be here and simultaneously so sad at how quickly the time is going. We are all trying to soak up as many cuddles and kisses as we can before we leave, knowing we won't be back for at least another 6 months if not longer.
Sometimes, living so far away, I worry that he won't feel connected to my family. Won't really remember them each time we come to visit. And then I watch a big smile burst onto his face as he gazes at his Ithaca family and I'm so relieved that my fears are completely unfounded.
When most of the way that my family gets to know Taran is through phone calls, or skype, or emails (or this blog), there are so many subtle nuances of his personality that they don't see. So one of my favorite things when we visit is to just go through the small moments of our day with them and kick back and watch them soak each other in.
As I mentioned in my last post, Taran has been enthralled with the Nutcracker. After his bath last night, he insisted on wearing Grammy Pauly's robe. Noticing the way the robe draped on the ground and billowed about his hands, he was struck by it's resemblance to the cape of the magical Herr Drosselmeyer. At once, he began to regale us with his very own dramatic retelling of Act I of the ballet, complete with dancing and singing. We all laughed and laughed and in that moment I felt so proud of his vibrancy, his imagination, his spirit and it felt wonderful to have my mother there to share in it with me.
In May we are expecting our second child. I hope that she is an amazing traveller and we can come home more often. If I could choose one superpower, it would be the ability to teleport my entire family to far-flung spots in the blink of an eye. Barring that, I'll just have to treasure the moments I have and remember that love leaves a deep impression that can carry us through many months in the physical absence of that love.