Oxygen First

Planes, trains, and automobiles. Buses, bikes, and boats. A bungee cord or two to strap luggage on for any ride. And a reminder, as always that ships are safe within the harbor, but that’s not what a ship is for. Along the Charles and in Chinatown, down Commonwealth and in Cambridge, on the Southside and North End, over bridges and down Beacon, pedaling, pedaling, pedaling, I breathed deeply of the briny air and felt my lungs fill with oxygen, my heart swell with pride. It has been a long four years. A long 22 years. A long and non-linear journey. And against all odds, we made it.

After five days with four family members and lots of travel sagas and successes, I’m now (sort of) happy to be back home, the midnight bike ride home from my local MARTA transit station a perfect (albeit unprotected and too narrow) bridge back. Our younger daughter is now graduated from college (the first in-person graduation ceremony at Boston University since before the pandemic), along with her older sister five years ago. My hubby got tons of special one-on-one time with each of them, first when my older daughter’s connecting flight from Los Angeles got canceled and he drove down to NYC to pick her up so she wouldn’t miss her sister’s graduation (nothing was gonna keep us from that after all that young woman’s been through), and then bringing my younger daughter home (however briefly), her life stuffed in bags.

And so we rest in a liminal space between here and there. Between life as it was and how it will be. And we brace ourselves against the onslaught of disaster in the news, yet again, and remind ourselves to give ourselves oxygen first.

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