When the hat comes out, I know something good is on the horizon. I remember when Mom bought this hat for herself – 50th birthday – Pea Island, NC.
Pea Island was the day we saw our first roseate spoonbills. Well, maybe we had seen these birds before, before we knew how cool they were. But, probably not. My childhood didn’t have much opportunity for travel from Ohio (I remember 2 long car trips – once to Florida to visit my grandparents and once to Cape Hatteras – – when I was 6. Mom loved Cape Hatteras so much – it became her dream destination).
Mom worked hard, single parented, didn’t have money, opted for freebie local vacations – we call them staycations now. But a few things changed when we kids were all grown up. She got to a few places. And, on our own, we often got there with her. Cape Hatteras & Pea Island was her dream 50th. We had that dream (feeling that crush of loss and mourning in my chest and thinking, THANK YOU GOD for Pea Island time).
I lost my mom way too soon – but so much of my life as her daughter comes rushing into my sight when I pull out her hat. And, so much of the path of my own life too.
And so, when I’m traveling I wear “the hat”. My head gets burned in the sun. The wind blows. My hair gets dirty, sandy, limp, a hot mess. I wear Mom’s hat. It protects. As she did. If you’ve seen pictures of me traveling, chances are you’ve seen me wearing this hat. (I’ll spare you the photo journal – and yes, in some of the photos I’m wearing both the hat and the binocular harness – SCORE!).
When I get out this hat, I know good things are about to happen. I love traveling more than anything else; more than driving a new car, more than having a closet full of clothes or shoes, more than gems or jewels (seriously, does anyone like gems and jewels?), more than a daily coffee purchase, more than shopping, more than buying a fancy juicer (but omigod I want a juicer!), more than eating out,
more than paying the biggies college tuitions…get the idea? Life with Mr. Sillypants and Blueberry (I married so young the first time; when y’all who are my age-mates were having your fun, I was breastfeeding non stop for way too many years to count!) is a good life. I am so grateful. And, I am grateful for the hat, and all it taught me about “today.” (I miss you Mom). Today, the hat is in the luggage. Today, I am humbled by the good and hard work of Mr. Sillypants so that I can take out the hat.
We’ll be off the grid for a week – leaving the home to our ragtag entourage of 20 somethings with a full ‘fridge and reminders to let the dog out. (OK, not really off the grid. I exaggerate. There will be FB updates, because what would the biggies do if they couldn’t see their baby bro on FB?) .
(crap, as I just finished this I remembered how close I am to 50….wowzers)