traveling light

by Bella Rum

IMG_3424You’ll find my suitcases over there, under the window, waiting on that old ottoman. They’re never fully unpacked and closeted away anymore. When I return home, I place the bigger suitcase on that stool, flip the top open and begin repacking for the next trip. I toss a couple of bras in here and a few panties there – enough to satisfy my minimum – and pajamas. There’s always an unworn shirt or pair of capris left over. They remain in the suitcase, ready to be worn on the next trip.

I do the laundry the next day and toss another pair of pants or a couple of shirts in there. I top off all my lotions, shampoos and such. Soft socks and slippers are a must. On the next trip, I’m leaving the slippers and a few other things at Dad’s. It was bound to happen. We’re slowly installing ourselves… to a certain degree, just enough to make the back-and-forth easier, but not enough to become permanent residents.

Traveling light has never been my forte, but I’m finally getting the art down to a science. There are too many heavy things in my life at the moment. I feel compelled to streamline everything that can be streamlined: lighten the load, spill the bilge, toss the stowaways and excess baggage over the side. Packing is at the top of that list. Keeping my hair air-dry short is a close second, and simplifying all culinary adventures is another. Simple and easy, light and uncomplicated are on the menu – the dinner menu and life’s menu.

Truth: this is not easy. I didn’t expect it to be, but I will continue to do it as long as I can. I expect that something will tell me when it’s time to give up or give in or choose a different path. As always, the most difficult part has little to do with caring for Dad or even the back-and-forth travel. The hardest part is keeping everyone happy or reasonably satisfied or within a hundred miles of some sort of reality that works for all. Everyone has a different agenda and that’s expected, but sometimes I feel like I’m dealing with Congress. Compromise is a dirty word. I’m in the middle, and we all know that middle spot is never fun.

I keep thinking of the Realtor who sold our last house for us. She once told me that a deal never hangs together for long if ALL concerned parties don’t get something out of it.

That’s the way things stand today.