I’m sure you’ve heard the saying; Everything’s bigger and better in Texas.
Well, it’s true.
I now know for a fact that the interstate system around San Antonio is bigger on the confusion scale.
For me at least.
Most of the mileage put on my rental car was made when I took a complete loop around the northern part of the city, not even realizing it until I exited at the same street that I had started out on twenty minutes prior.
I can’t even explain my perplexity with the Texas Turnaround.
Our parents became friends when they all lived in San Antonio in the late forties and early fifties. (My Dad was in photography school out there.)
Dana’s place is like a bed and breakfast, complete with a bird named Chicken Little, a tiny little dog named Midge, and a large, one-eyed, talking cat named G.E. (G.E.- It used to stand for Green Eyes, but sadly, now it’s Green Eye.)
Alli and I stayed in The Rodeo Room.
The first night we were there, I had one of those moments where you wake up in the middle of the night from a deep sleep all confused about where you are.
You know the feeling.
I looked around the room, and my eyes finally focused on the only thing that was visible in the darkness and lit by the night light…cowboy boots, right next to the bed. My eyes followed them up to legs, dressed in denim.
I was pretty sure there was a cowboy in our room.
It gave me quite a fright.
After a while I realized where I was, and that the cowboy was just that crazy chair of Dana’s. After the blood arrived back to my brain from rushing to my feet, I got the giggles.
The next morning while telling Dana about how her chair had scared the day lights out of me, she brought out her albums to show me photos of our parents together in their younger days.
I took one of them out to copy and the date on the back was August, 61 years ago!
The trip to carry Alli to school was a little different this year.First off, we didn’t have to pack three hundred pounds of belongings, and buy tons more once we got out there. All of her dorm stuff from freshman year was in storage at Dana’s.
Larry couldn’t go with us due to his work schedule, so it was a girl’s trip.
We had a few days to get her belongings to campus and to get her settled. It was much more relaxed. (Last year we flew out on a Friday morning, and flew home on Saturday afternoon!)
Alli had not one, but two women to help her get her dorm room set up. (Dana actually thanked me for allowing her the experience.) We had fun unpacking and arranging. It was a memorable day of bonding.
The last night I was in San Antonio with Alli, we went to dinner with our friends the Fords. We met last year at the freshman parent orientation. They were in Nashville a few weeks ago and it’s as if we have known each other for a lifetime.
They treated us to a true local experience at an amazing Mexican restaurant, with table side guacamole making and a performance by a mariachi band.
What a great trip it was.
One of the highlights was just being with Alli in her world. She was visibly excited when the plane landed in San Antonio. I loved being on campus with her. She kept running into friends and having wonderful reunions with hugs and shrieks of joy. I felt Texas sized pride when she introduced me to her friends.
The fear of the empty nest did not hang over me like it did last year. This time around was so much easier. It is clear that Alli has a second home. She feels comfortable with her community; she has many friends and knows her way around. That made it so much easier to leave her this time.
When we said our goodbyes at her dorm that Sunday afternoon, I didn’t fall apart. I felt fairly strong.
But that changed at the airport while I was waiting on my plane. I was writing in my journal about the events of the move-in weekend, when the tears came. I went on a little walk to try to get myself together.
That was when I saw a small crowd around a woman and heard the words, “That woman has a monkey!”
Okay, if you know me, you know I’m a fool for critters. I practically ran to see this monkey.
Come to find out, little Lucy is a service monkey. The owner said that she had just gotten her from a trainer.
A service monkey indeed! Lucy was MY service monkey for about ten minutes. She made me laugh and smile and forget why I was crying.
I dreamed of her until I got settled in my seat. I slept the whole two-hour flight.
I have not slowed down since the following morning, and I can’t lie – The dark place sucked me in. I’ve had a hard time since I’ve been home.
I blame exhaustion, a cold, and not having time for my creative mind to breathe.
Today, I’ve had a real day off. I had an hour-long Skype session with Alli, a nice walk with Bella Bunny, a lunch date with Larry, some much-needed rest, some quiet time alone, and a good writing session. I’m feeling much better.
But I still think I may need a service monkey.