Family space travel can be grueling. We were in orbit twice as long as we were scheduled to be; the B-hive melted down and the Mama and me hallucinated, our bodies slick with dirty sweat.
Mercy, there is no better place to hold on to the why of wonder and laughter.
We did eventually reenter the earth's atmosphere and landed on the banks of Mississippi, in America's Heartland.
Unlike our family vacation with my folks in Oregon, this one in Illinois/Iowa was filled with lots of extended family -- Mama's mom and grandma, aunts and uncles, cousins and baby second cousins.
As I've written before, some of my fondest family memories are those when our entire extended family on my mom's side would gather for Easter, the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Second only to the holidays themselves, being a little kid snuggled safely in the family bosom was the only place I wanted to be. That didn't mean there wasn't family friction and other varying forms of family dysfunction, but the family bosom was still safe and warm.
My family is splintered everywhere now, the greatest concentrations being in the California Central Valley and Southwest Missouri. And although we've talked of getting together more over the years, to revisit the days of old, it just hasn't transpired.
But with the Mama's family, both in Illinois/Iowa and Nevada, it has, partly because there's been a greater connection between her and her family and the effort more effortless -- bidirectionally -- the bosom still safe and warm. There's a reality that the maternal bonds are stronger than paternal in extended families, at least in my experience. It doesn't mean I don't care about my family any less, it's just the reality we live.
This latest family vacation was still hard with two little girls in tow, because according to the baby regression table, after 7 days away from home, Bryce was back to waking what seemed to be every minute.
However, that didn't take away from the every minute of family joy, particularly when all the cousins' babies played together in matching outfits (made my none other Auntie Jill, Mama's sister). C'mon, you know you can't get enough of matching babies. They line the family bosom with warm fuzzies and protect us during space travel.
Sadly we haven't had many warm fuzzies near us since we've birthed the B-hive, with the exception of short stints from Mama's mom and niece. Maybe it's time to change that.
Back to family space boot camp we go. Because space travel can be fun, too.