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Monday, January 03, 2005

Undesirable Baggage 

My father's childhood trauma affected him, and his kids in turn, in odd ways. Unlike little Karl Nilsson, of whom I wrote in the previous entry, my father survived his family by "conning" (his word) his sister out of her turn to visit their grandparents a few days before the flood.

Even while I was a small child, I recognized his conflicting feelings about traveling. He yearned to travel, but once at the destination, he became impatient and fidgety. Our family vacations were tense and most often cut short – I always felt that he worried our house would be gone if we didn't hurry home.

Now, even though I try to be conscious of how his behaviors, and all the fears they conveyed, affect me still, I sometimes forget the roots of my vague anxieties over thunderstorms and travel. For decades now, I've had to work to quell impulses to rush home and call everyone I love whenever the skies darken suddenly. And I still have to remind myself not to constrict my lungs while a loved one is in flight. Brad and Jolie are remarkably sympathetic when these irrational anxieties surge.

Before dawn this morning, we saw Jolie off at the ever-frustrating Willard Airport – one Homeland Security suitcase-check person for 7 ticketing agents from 2 airlines. Geez. An hour after arriving at the airport the final boarding call was announced, and Jol was still queued for the carry-on scan. Once through, she had to run for the gate. And I went home to hold my breath until her call. Five hours later she called from her place, and my peculiar uneasiness was relieved once again.


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