Epic Trip Part Twenty: Phase Four (Last) Phase Begins

I returned home from Madrid on November 12 and settled into not-quite-two weeks as a single parent of a very energetic English Springer Spaniel. Do not be fooled by how serene he looks in this photo! Sherry and her family had kept Blackberry while Joe and I were away. He was glad enough to see me, but he is really Joe's dog and kept asking me, "Where's Joe? Where's Joe?" How do you tell a dog, "He'll be back in two weeks"?

The two weeks were busy ones. The middle weekend was consumed by my semi-annual escape to Black Rock. And there was Christmas shopping to do, and plans to make, and this, and that. Not to mention four walks per day with You Know Who. I was glad to return to the little school for autistic kids.

I had a lot of time to think, and during that time, while I was missing Joe far more than I'd anticipated, it became very clear to me that I wanted to realign my priorities. My hospital chaplaincy job took the better part of two weekends each month, plus the occasional holiday. Weekends and holidays are the very best times to visit family in another state. Weekends are sometimes when organized quilting opportunities come up. I was reluctant to accept these kinds of opportunities, knowing that I was leaving Joe so much for work. Weekends that worked for us didn't always work for the remote family. I loved my job at the hospital; I knew I was doing good work and had done so for four years. I'd been thinking that five years would be about right, but during this period of Single Dog Parent, I came to understand that four years was actually the right amount of time.

Thanksgiving came and I was happy that -- as usual -- my niece had invited me to join her massive gathering. Tom and his family came up from Virginia and it was good to spend time with them at Karen's home.

The day after Thanksgiving, Tom left his wife and the children at Sherry's where they were staying and came down to Near Philadelphia. The two of us had an exceedingly rare opportunity: We went out to breakfast at the Best Place in Town. It was lovely to talk without interruptions!

And then he took me to the train that went to the airport.


Karla said…
I love you Near Ohiladelphia!
Synthia said…
OH MY!! What happens next??? You've left me hanging!!!!!!! :) You really know how to tell a story.........
Quiltdivajulie said…
Ah, yes - you are a MASTER storyteller. Congratulations on the realigning of priorities - very wise choices!! Hugs to you, my friend.
Barbara Anne said…
Blackberry is a cutie but I can understand how it's hard to explain absences to a loving dog.

Am glad you're satisfied with your decision to retire from the chaplaincy job but that you can still go to the little school.

It sounds like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with most of your family!

Oh, golly, we're left hanging again! Airport???? Going where?