The unbridled curiosity of youth took me to Europe in my twenties when I spent a decade alternating school years between Los Angeles, Padua, Pisa, and Rome. There was always a scholarship or fellowship (including the Fulbright) that delivered me across the Atlantic and there was always a summer gig in Proseccoland that fed me when the grant money ran out.
A decade in New York followed and so did the yearly trips to the old world. Those were years, too, when I regularly hit the road with rock bands. Back then, I’d drive to Cleveland or even Detroit from the east coast in a straight shot with a van-load of drums and guitar amps.
Today, the thought of departing for Europe fills me with unease.
Now, well beyond the “middle of the journey of my life,” my only desire is to be at home with Tracie P, Georgia P, and Lila Jane, where snuggles and boo boos are the currency of our lives.
Since we moved to Houston earlier this year, Tracie has the support of her parents, the Levys (our Houston cousins), and a community that has embraced us between my professional life and Georgia’s preschool.
It’s a good feeling to know that when work pulls me away from our home, Tracie’s burden is alleviated by our family, friends, and colleagues. And there’s security in knowing that they are just a phone call away and in the case of the Levys, literally around the corner.
But that doesn’t make the goodbyes any easier.
I only find solace in knowing that these trips are necessary and that they help to grow our business and to build a future for our children.
Yesterday evening before dinner, we all sat in my office and I strummed “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” as Georgia played the shaker, Lila the bongos, and mommy the tambourine.
After their baths, as I got Georgia dressed in her pajamas (she requested the flannel ones with the hearts), I couldn’t hold back the tears. As I brushed her teeth in the bathroom, they flowed down my cheeks and I told her over and over and over again, I love you, sweet girl.
This early morning she burst into my office and said, daddy, play the guitar; daddy, play the song again.
I’ll sing that song every day until it carries me home to them.
I’ll be taking a break from blogging for the next few days. Thanks for being here. I’ll see you on the other side.