We're back. Tired, but mostly happy.
Helena had 1 bout of motion sickness at about the 4-hour mark the way there, entailing an unscheduled stop in the middle of nowhere to clean up and change clothes. This seems to happen regularly on long car trips. Helena doesn't seem to mind much — in fact, she seems quite relieved after vomiting — it's the mess of it that troubles her. She was telling the story of it for days afterward.
Number of times Helena asked "Ou est la maison a Babcia?" (a kind of "are we there yet?") on the way there: irritatingly high.
Carousel rides: 1, but it was spectacular. (More on this to come.)
1 for my mom, and 1 for the kid. My mom sat still and didn't cry or kick anyone, but somehow the kid got 2 lollipops (mom didn't get any). And her bangs are still crooked.
1 for my sister, and 1 for me, courtesy of my sister (bringing my lifetime pedicure count to 3, or maybe 4). (Thanks, Ivonna!)
Number of times Helena stomped on my toes within seconds of my emerging from pedicure: 2, even though the polish was completely smudged after the first try.
1 daytrip to Toronto to visit an aunt and a cousin.
1 mother throwing up in the car on the way home.
Diapers changed by my mother in the middle of the night, necessitated by Helena's disrupted food and sleep routine and the ensuing copious milk consumption at bedtime: 1 (bringing the grand total over Helena's lifetime to 2).
Bedtime diapers applied by my sister: half (will she make it on the board before Helena is completely toilet-trained?).
Accidents of a peeing nature (by Helena): just 1, but in a mall and while in my arms, thus completely soaking the left side of my shirt and pants and my left shoe.
Number of times Helena sings out "Mama!" in a day: at least 100, by my mother's count.
Noteworthy consumption (by me):
Dozens of pierogi.
Suicide-hot Buffalo wings. Honestly, the closer you are to Buffalo, the better they are.
5 cigarettes, after very long days.
Purchases for me:
1 pair of sandals.
3 books (discount outlet).
Purchases for the kid, notably in the shoe category:
1 pair cheap sandals (cuz her other cheap sandals broke), which turned out to be too big.
1 pair cheap sparkly, spangly slippers, cuz she liked the ones my mom gave me so much I figured she should have some in a size she can kind of wear without breaking her neck in them.
1 pair incredibly expensive (well, relatively) but fashionable running shoes, cleverly displayed instore among several more reasonably sale-priced but far less attractive (to Helena) and apparently less comfortable options.
Other purchases and gifts for Helena: countless.
Pages read: about 100.
Movies watched in their entirety: 1, even though I thought it was stupid and boring (by which I mean it had nothing inspired or the least bit original to say about the concept of honour, nor was it told in an original way, and I'm disappointed because I wanted to like it but couldn't), but everyone else really liked it.
Maybe for me to express in days to come, or perhaps just to roll into a ball to bury deep in a pit in my stomach.
It seems every trip "home" sees me struggling with family dynamics, roles, traditions. The realization that you can never go home again.
It highlights to me how different things are — the times, but also individual styles — between my raising Helena and my mom's raising me (let alone her raising my brother and sister some dozen years before I came along). How I feel judged exteriorly, and feel interiorly inadequate.
Saddest of all is that the integration of J-F and my family has not improved over the years, yet is doesn't feel complete.
It's good to be home.