We’re in London again for Lyra’s eyes. Three weeks away from home and my big kids, and the family that is my heart. But also, three weeks of quiet time with my baby who now has the face of a toddler and will be one in seven days. Three weeks of quiet wandering, of yoga and cups of tea, or museums and old friends and early bedtimes and books and white hotel sheets.
The morning of Lyra’s surgery, we woke well before dawn, our bodies still somewhere between here and home. With hours before our early morning check-in time, we dress and leave the hotel, into the dark of the morning that still feels like night. We walk the length of Oxford street until it changed its name three times and the city neighborhoods shifted, unfolding the story of the city, of class and culture and the people who live here. It’s quiet and pink, my breath fogs, and Lyra falls asleep. The city’s not yet awake and I like it. I always forget to remember that dawn is the best time to get out into the world.
This time feels different from the trips before. The city doesn’t feel so strange, and the ache of this disease doesn’t sting and stab quite so hard. I don’t feel that gratitude so deep that I believe I can feel the center of the universe and the meaning of all things. We’re easing into this, the swells and swings are normalizing. Anxiety and worries still lurk and wait, seeping out when I'm tired and the baby won't sleep.
I’m here in London for a few more days. Then we’re off to Belgium to visit some old friends who we’ve known since we were just two couples, newly married with baby faces. Now we’re parents to three babies each, and how times change and all that.
Life's funny, isn't it. It's nice to be here, but also it's not. I'm excited to be away, but I ache for my home and my family. I'm getting to see old friends and make new ones, travel and see people who feel like family. But my big kids are at home, and not here with me.