Wednesday, April 30, 2008

V is for Vacation

"A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in. "
Robert Orben

After a whole post around the word "ubiquitus" I thought I was on a roll; that I'd finish up the alphabet and this month of letter postings and be able to move on to .... what? Numbers?

I didn't realize it would be so difficult to write about V.

Last Saturday I was caught between a "v"olley of "v" words. Like listening to a tennis match and hearing the thwack of the racket against the ball, then the swoosh of the ball over the net and it's kathunk as it hit the ground, for a few intense minutes I was caught in "v"eritable firefight of v's. My sweetie and my daughter were on a roll and I didn't have a pen to write the words down.

Velocity, victim, voodoo, vagina, (No! I've already written about genitalia, I'm not going to resort to my own Vagina monologue! For this I'm sure you are grateful!) Vishnu, venial, Viking ....

What they didn't seem to understand is that it's not the words I have a problem with, it's what I should write along with the word. I haven't had a lot of recent experience with Vikings or voodoo so I felt at a loss even though they were being so helpful.
This morning - long after the "v" date had come and gone- I read Carol O'Dell's blog. Her subject was "Restless Caregiver Syndrome" which doesn't begin with the letter of the day but has a v in the mix. After caring for her mother who had the double whammy of Parkinson's and Alzheimers, Carol is, to me, the be all and end all when it comes to writing from the heart. What she didn't experience for herself, she's not afraid to research. Let's face it, she's my idol, my "what I want to be when I grow up."

What I realized after reading her post that the "V" word that I can most relate to is "vacation."

Oh my, what would it be like to go to Key West and stay in one of those luxurious rooms at the Southernmost Hotel where my son works. The beach, the sand, the gentle balmy breeze. Yum!

Or maybe a week in Seattle with Wendy, watching movies, drinking tea, playing with Ivy Jane, tiptoeing through the tulips and driving through the mountains to Selah. The evergreen trees, the daffodills, Pike's Market, mother/daughter/sister chats. Oohlala!

As long as I'm dreaming how about a room at the El Tovar, overlooking the South rim of the Grand Canyon. The sunlight peaking over the edge, the rocks turning from pink to red to orange; or the sun setting below the horizon, the sky ablaze with color, and there I sit on my rock watching the light change and listening to the hum of one of God's greatest creations. Mmmm! Pure heaven.

And last but not least on my list of places to vacation, how about a drive down to Jacksonville Beach, a seaside room at a local hotel, an appointment for a massage and being able to sleep whenever and for as long as I want. Delightful! Simply divine!

I know it's my own fault but I can't figure out how to fit time away into my life. I should be more assertive. I should be more pro-active. The truth be told, however, I don't want to pay the emotional price that I fear would go along with vacation. Caregiving comes with baggage that in no way resembles a Luie "V"uitton satchel. Shamefully, I don't think it's a coincidence that whenever I go away, I carry a trashbag full of guilt with me. I do it to myself, but it doesn't help that the person I care for looks at me everytime I walk out the back door with the blue eyes of his inner child that seem to say, "don't leave me."
In today's post, O'Dell talks of every caregiver's fear: I was scared, she wrote.
"... scared my mother would consume me.
I was scared that this was going to be my life from now on, and that by accepting it now, I was accepting it forever.
I was scared that if I sat still, thought too long, I’d realize it was a mistake, that this wasn’t what I wanted to do. I was scared I’d grow old and not have the life, the adventures, the memories and journeys I’d always dreamed of. "

I had an epi-fanny over the weekend. It became clear to me that the work I am doing - the caregiving, the ongoing mundane chores, the lack of solitude, the tunnelvision - is, in reality, my calling. I've been entrusted by the man upstairs with the care and feeding of a nonagenarian. I'm trying to look at my "v"ocation as a blessing not a curse. It's not always easy. Somedays, like O'Dell describes so perfectly, "A restlessness has built up inside you. You gotta get out. You can’t sit in that living room chair one more minute. You can’t scramble one more egg."

These are the days when a vacation looms large in my imagination. I've painted my room a dark green. It looks a little like a cave. But there's a bed, and some quilts, and a lot of my favorite things - books, photos, pillows. It's not "V"alhalla, but if I close my eyes, wave a sprig of lavender under my nose, or sprinkle sand in my sheets, perhaps I can pretend I'm on vacation.

Vacation venues to visit:

Key West [Photo by John]

The road less traveled [Photo by Wendy]

Surf's up! [Photo by John]

Tulip Heaven [Photo by Shannon]


Merry ME

Be sure to go to Carol O'Dell's blog @ April 29. There's always something good to read.


Anonymous said...

V is for Viaticals
V is for Victory
V is for Viagra
V is for Venezuela
V is for Viet Nam
V is for Ventriloquist
V is for "Vhat's Up"
V is for Vertical
V is for Versatile
V is for Vermiculite
V is for Verso
V is for Verticillium wilt

Merry ME said...

Verticillium wilt???????