austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Nothing but these clear blue skies

My brother and his wife had very clear specific ideas about bringing their child into the families she was joining, and how they would recover from the expedition to China and the return and all the time zones that implies. They were getting home on a Friday evening, and my sister-in-law's parents would be up from South Jersey first to take over house-sitting duties from my other brother (the one with the recent Chicago-Madison-Worcester business), to get perishable foods and whatnot as the plan dictates, and to be generally on hand for the first weekend while they slept off the time zones. The parents approved this plan too. In fact, this first weekend would be the Parents Weekend, with the happy couples' time and the child's time given to being as accessible to them as the remnants of trans-hemispheric flight allow. The next weekend would be Siblings Weekend, with all the relevant brothers and sisters and siblings-in-law welcome to spend all the time they wanted.

The plan didn't quite work. The first problem is that for some reason I never got straight the parents-in-law (from my brother's perspective) weren't able to drive to the airport, so instead our sister's husband picked them up and brought them back home. So that one one brother-in-law meeting the adoptee ahead of schedule. And of course he couldn't very well bring them back to the house without my sister being there. (They live just a few minutes away anyway.) The next problem was that my other brother was still there and house-sitting, taking the schedule load off the parents-in-law again in some move I didn't quite get. So the point was by the end of Friday everyone in my brother's family except me and our parents had met the child.

Well, things more or less came back together Saturday, when my parents, and the other set of parents, converged and spent a long happy afternoon. I did inquire into details, unaware until after they got back that the whole Parents Weekend/Siblings Weekend thing had collapsed instantaneously, but it's a bit silly to pass along experiences that far removed from anything I had. (I did send e-mails congratulating everyone on being home and making clear that I would love to visit when they felt ready.) And my mother had decided how she wanted to be named; in a sweet touch, it's a slightly quirky family word and how she addressed her grandmother. There was a lot of bubbling over with smiles.

Trivia: Queen Elizabeth I's revenues from Francis Drake's circumnavigation of the globe came to almost £160,000, enough to pay the entire foreign debt and still have about £40,000 for future investment. Source: To Rule The Waves: How The British Navy Shaped The Modern World, Arthur Herman.

Currently Reading: Off The Map: Tales Of Endurance And Exploration, Fergus Fleming. So on attempting to scale Everest's summit George Mallory forgot his compass, torch, and lantern, and Andrew Irvine had barely any mountaineering experience at all. You know, from reading these tales of explorers I'm amazed any of them ever got anywhere alive in any circumstance, ever. (Also I'm now disenchanted with Cook and Peary. There's a danger in learning too much.)

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