Thursday, September 13, 2007

Homeward Bound

... Sort of.

My stepmother is flying me up to Syracuse week after next as a surprise for my dad's 65th birthday and I get to stay a whole entire week!

I'll bring my camera. I'll take lots of pictures. I did last time I was up there, two years ago - in fact I was there for my dad's 63rd birthday:

Syracuse 2005 pictures

My stepmother may well be the most completely sweet person I've ever known. She doesn't have the tiniest scrap of spite in her. One of the things I love about visiting is that being around them brings out something better in me. My dad is rational and measured and calm and ordered and serene; kind, but not particularly demonstrative; Joyce is sweet and bubbly and warm. It makes me happy to see them together because they complement one another so perfectly and love each other so much.

Joyce often amuses herself cooking up happy little schemes where I move up there and we spend lots of time together. My stepsister and her kids, and stepbrother and his wife, live in Syracuse and they're always dropping by for coffee or having dinner together. I'm really envious. It was my own choice, but since I moved away to go to school I've never lived near any of my family, and holidays have always been spent with someone else's. Joyce is pretty closely involved with her daughter's kids, who are Eric's and Katie's ages, and it makes me sad to think how much I screwed myself out of that kind of support by moving across the country from my mom as soon as I was old enough.

Of course, my ex-mother-in-law is always more than happy to step in.

Tonight Joyce called to set up details. I arrive on a Saturday and my dad's birthday is on Sunday, so she's actually going to have me stay the night elsewhere, the first night, so I can arrive at his party with my stepsister or stepbrother.

This brings back memories of my fifth birthday, in Austin, when we lived on Bridgewater Cove. Mom had taken me to pick out a pinata, all the kids were assembled, and Mom told me to go out on the front patio because there was a surprise for me. And it was my dad, come down from Philadelphia for my party!

And Joyce told me that, when walking this afternoon, she passed a cute house for rent in her neighborhood and thought, "Oh, that would be so perfect for Beth and the kids!" And the thought is almost enough to make me want to brave 11 feet of snow. I'm so happy there. Everybody there is so nice. I'm sure I'll at least browse through the job listings over cereal in the mornings...

I've moved away from Austin three or four times since moving here, and I always regret it when I do. I adore this city. When I'm away, I get homesick. Daddy and Joyce can't live here, because she has MS and can't handle extended periods of hot weather.

But the visit's going to be wonderful.



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