The long road home . . . Part 2
There were several things that I learned or realized about myself on my trip home. One of the most sobering was, as the oldest grandchild (now without grandparents), I am one generation away from being the matriarch of a family. That was a humbling and overwhelming epiphany. Another affirmation was I will always be a Southern girl at heart, and there are just some things that only true Southerners appreciate. A prime example is grits, which I savored every bite each morning on the train. A third was something I have grappled with for a long time – not taking time for myself and something that my Nannie worried about.
As confessed yesterday, my aversion to flying played a factor in my decision to take the train to New Orleans and then drive from there. But the reality of the having 31 hours of uninterrupted time was beyond appealing to this harried mom. From the moment, we brought Reed into this world, I have put my own personal desires a distance fourth or fifth place (after Daniel’s, my kids, work, church/volunteering – you get the idea). When it comes to making sacrifices, my heart’s desires are the first I throw out the window.
Another realization is that while I don’t remember my age half the time, my body certainly does which is why I inquired into the cost of a sleeper car accommodation for the longer train trip. When I discovered how affordable it was, I took the plunge. After I had paid the fare, the ticket agent explained all my meals were included, and my wait time would be in the First Class lounge (safe and seccure) where there are drinks, snacks, free internet, and cable for those waiting. Wow! I was just expecting a bed where I could stretch out.
Upon boarding my sleeper car, I learned that were other desirable perks. Someone turns down my bed (complete with chocolates and water bottles), priority seating at meal times, fabulous meals rivaling some great restaurants, someone makes my bed in the morning, towel service with most toiletries available for the shower room, and my favorite: free beverage service with all the ice I could ever want is available the entire trip. I learned that I could sleep in and no one would care or ask me to make breakfast or find their lost shoes or backpack. I could just sit in solitude and be peaceful without interruption or having to do the laundry. I was amazed at how good it felt to be pampered. Manny, my porter, was sweet and compassionate when I explained the nature of my trip. To be honest, he doted on me. I felt like the Belle of the South on the train.
After my first meal of amazing Cajun pasta, I retreated to my sleeper to ponder how I was feeling. More importantly, why when I was travelling a grief journey did these small touches make me feel so special? It didn’t take me long to come to the realization that it had been a very LONG time that I had done something just for me. The only thing I regularly do for me is to visit my hair stylist.
My head swirled with thoughts of how did I get like this mixed in with memories of my Nannie who was all about pampering. My Nannie took carpe diem to an altogether new level while I somehow live a life of self-imposed martyrdom. What happened to me? I don’t think I was always this worried, stressed or self-sacrificing. I was not oblivious to the fact that I was impressed with pampering on the Amtrak and that I was not at the Ritz-Carlton.
This self-denial is a long and entrenched behavior, but on that southbound train, I made a promise to myself to start doing some things just for me. Somehow I know that my Nannie would be saying, “Hallelujah! It’s about time!” And who knows? I just might like it!
If you see glimpses of yourself in my blog today, please, please, please take time for you and write a response telling me what you chose to do for yourself. I love to hear from my readers, and it would be an encouragement to me to keep my own promise.