Crack Home, Sweet Crack Home
Each year, I make a point to take an individual trip with each of my three children for a little mommy-and-me time. This year, I only got to two out of three. So, when it came time to fly to Miami for my ailing uncle’s 80th birthday, it was Zoe’s turn to finally come along. She dutifully reminded me that technically I still owed her a trip from 2006 since it was now Jan. 5th and that this didn’t count as her 2007 trip.
Like the memory of physical pain of childbirth, I somehow conveniently forgot what a pain in the a_ _ it was to fly a redeye with a small child since the last time I flew a redeye with a small child – especially if the child is mine.
However, my bilingual daughter chatted up an elderly Cuban gentleman for nearly two hours, then proceeded to sprawl out, legs flared unladylike across the seat, over his lap and up onto his armrest, her knee in his chest. He protested when I tried to re-position her. He was either incredibly understanding or a pedophile. My good nature prefers to think the former.
Many members of my family were gathering to mark what no one would dare say; this would probably be the last time the “elders” – my mom, my uncle, my aunt – the three, aging siblings - would ever be together again. At least until there’s a funeral.
So, I decided this would be a perfect occasion to bring my “old soul” daughter … the one who thrills in spending time with old people, prefers hot tea to hot chocolate and a trip to Uncle Jack’s birthday dinner rather than staying behind to attend a classmate’s birthday party.
Miami, my childhood hometown, has gotten gritty. It’s no longer the art deco pinks and blues of Miami Vice days and only a tiny portion can be defined as “South Beach.” My friend, who lives in Silicon Valley and is also originally from there said, it’s different now: There if you drive a fancy car and are dressed up in the middle of the day you are a drug dealer; here (in Silicon Valley), you are a soccer mom. Well enough said, I guess.
So, I was surprised to find myself feeling an unfamiliar sensation. I can only identify it most closely as feeling nostalgic. Nostalgia is creeping into my identity. Is that a by-product of turning 40? I, similar to my anxiety-ridden mom who also grew up in Miami but now has retired in Alabama, was a little overwhelmed at what surrounded me now in the places where I spent my childhood. But just the same, I found myself smiling at the preservation (such as it was) of pockets of neighborhoods that have held their ground – still pretty much looking & feeling like they used to, even if, just two streets over, there might be a megamall or new Metrorail stop.Continued on the next page