It isn’t that we wanted to escape life — we just wanted to grab more of it while we could. That’s why, in spite of a recent family death, my husband Bob and I decided to go ahead and take our 25th wedding anniversary trip to Paris and London as planned. There was an element of, “let’s be romantic free-spirits, forget our troubles and fly to Europe,” but the truth is most of our motivation to proceed with the vacation was because we were too practical to forfeit the nonrefundable prepaid portions while we moped around the house for another day.
“Something bad will happen while we’re gone” I predicted. Usually optimistic to the point of being confused with a singing Disney princess, I was uncharacteristically fearful the world would fall apart while we were gone. Conditioned by weeks of stress, I sadly focused on what I was leaving behind instead of the joy we could discover in new adventures.
My stomach is usually tied in knots and I’m unable to eat a bite of food when under stress, but this time my girlfriends recommended a new way of coping called, “comfort food.” Let me tell you, these women are geniuses. Comfort food looks different for everyone, but for me, it turned out to be macaroni and cheese, cheese straws, cheese toast, cheese grits — do you see a theme here? It was all as soothing as a rocking chair on a breezy 70-degree porch.
Bob and I spent a few days in London, which was actually my favorite, then moved on to Paris. And who knew? Paris and all the buildings there are made of cheese and butter. It was a journey meant to be. I was being comforted by one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Blissfully relaxing, my cheesy vacation was interrupted by what I had predicted (moms always know), an emergency back home with our freshman college son who texted to say that while hiking in Mt. Cheaha State Park, he was bit by a black widow spider. He sent a photo of his swollen neck with a big red streak running across his chest. He reported, “The doctors gave me two of the most painful shots in my butt I’ve ever had.” Only, auto-correct replaced the “o” in “shots” with an “i” so he quickly texted, “No! no! I didn’t mean that!” because even halfway around the world, he still fears his mom. He then sent a row of what is becoming the official family crest — a line of laughing/crying-face emojis.
After a long-distance freak-out (“Sacre Bleu!”) by me, and the obvious question from my husband “Have you noticed any super-human spider abilities yet?” the brilliant and talented campus doctors let us know our big kid would be fine. I comforted myself again with more croissants, butter and cheese, and of all things, who knew the French also know a little bit about champagne?
Celebrating memories of those no longer with us, the good health we have here on earth, the thrill of adventure and sharing it for 25 years in the arms of the one you love — and also celebrating the fact we are blessed with simple things like gooey-cheesy comfort food is a reason to rejoice. And now I’m ready for the next 25 years, right after I hug my son and lose these last three pounds of comfort.