Friday, April 30, 2010

Spring Break Part II: T - I - Single G Brrrrrrr

Nothing springy at all about Part II.

After a temperate weekend in Marin County where even the weather is richer than average, Carrie, Amari, and I headed north towards the Sierras and a visit with Babaji, which is both a term of respect my dad has adopted in place of grandpa and a not-so-hit single from Supertramp's 1977 album Even in the Quietest Moments. Much like the song, our visit to South Lake Tahoe was nice, even meaningful, but failed to chart in both the U.S. and the U.K., which is only because it was cloaked beneath a thick, powdery layer of April snow.

We drove north on Monday, April 19th - my 39th birthday - a day I now share with historic events such as the shoot out in Waco, Texas, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the matrimonial vows of two of my dearest friends. I think there's a joke in there somewhere, but I don't want to alienate any of my readers. I have a lot of Branch Davidian fans.

So we headed north despite the forecast of rain and snow, hoping that the old adage "If you don't like the weather in the mountains wait five minutes" would hold true. Monday was clear skies and the drive uneventful. Amari continues to be a happy traveler - especially with coddling parents who climb into the backseat at the slightest sounds of distress. Carrie, who packed a large collection of toys, spent the last leg between Placerville and Tahoe waving them in Amari's face, endlessly distracting her from distraction with distraction. We really are just grown up babies aren't we?

When we arrived at Casa de Babaji, everyone was anxiously awaiting our arrival - at the airport in Reno. I mistakenly thought my dad and Brandy were going to be home Sunday night, but we received a call from them as we pulled into their driveway saying they'd just flown in from Boston and would be home in a couple of hours. We settled in and waited, marveling at the amount of snow still on mountains across the lake, and watching a few innings of the Giants disastrous series sweep in San Diego.

When Babaji and Brandy arrived they took us out to Indian food for my birthday. I know I said in Part I that I don't really care about my birthday, but the truth is I do like to at least acknowledge it in some way - like with baseball and samosas. It seemed fitting having been born in India 39 years earlier. The food was excellent and the restaurant was wall-to-wall mirrors, which meant Amari was easily entertained with her own reflection - whom I've affectionately named "her best friend." It's my way of preparing her to be an only child, which I'm certain will be the subject of a future blog. Good thing she absolutely loves her new BFF. 

When we woke up Tuesday morning there was an inch of fresh snow on the porch. It also happened to be Granny C's birthday (which is why we sometimes lock horns), so I took a stick and a moment to send her our love just in case she was feeling the way I had the day before.

We spent the next two days watching the snow fall, gather, melt, and fall again. Much like their visits to see us earlier this year, being with my dad and his family was effortless. We all began our days differently, separately, then watched Amari-vision throughout the day, and spent evenings playing Apples to Apples and listening to the Giants suck. On Wednesday, the weather broke just long enough for us to get a walk in by the lake. Amari's warm weather gear was cute, fashionable, and practical in case we needed to be visible to rescue choppers. Even if it hadn't cleared up I had plans of dressing her up and sitting her in a chair made of snow for a fashion shoot. The walk, I think, was much more comfortable and far less traumatizing.

Much like Tiggers, the wonderful thing about Amari is she's the only one.

I have surprisingly long arms

South shore near The Keys

I haven't written enough about the experience of being with my dad now that I'm a father. It has been an authentic healing experience for me. I see how he adores Amari, volunteers to take her when she's hurting, tired, or hungry, and I imagine he must have been at least that committed to me when I was little. I've been told by many that he was a wonderful father to us when we were little, and I believe I would not have the natural parental instincts I have had it not been for the love of both my parents. Although their relationship began to fall apart when I was four years old, they gave me enough love in those early years to sustain a lifetime. Their separation and the years that followed had a profound impact on who I  became, who I am, but the foundation of love - to the best of their ability - was there all along, that part of my being that always believed, even in the darkest of moments, that I was going to be okay. 

I know that's easy to say now, but I recently received an e-mail from my friend, Diana, who shared a similar faith saying, "I have never flinched at any of your life stories, be them hard or easy, that you have shared with me. I have always had this steady intuition about you, it was kind of a.... "I know" that your world turns out okay." I do not believe that either one of us would feel that way had my fundamental needs for acceptance an love been met when it mattered. Thank you, Mom, and thank you, Babaji, for in the words of Supertramp, especially in the quietest of moments, you managed to "give a little bit of your love to me." Because of that, I have something to pass on to Amari, and that, I believe, will make all the difference. 

Tomorrow - Spring Break Part III: Homeward Bound or Old Friends and Jumparoo's

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