We sang Kumbayah, roasted marshmallows over an open fire, and had group hugs in the cool, fresh air. We hiked together, looked across amazing mountain peaks, prayed together, supped together, and had deep, star-gazing talks…
And then I woke up.
Hahaha…yeah, yeah, the family freakin’ trip with my sister’s lovely family to their cabin. I have to tell you, there were times on this five-day jaunt to Mammoth Mountain that I wanted to pack my single suitcase and walk to the airport a few miles down. The main culprit was my beautiful, shout-tic’ing (how DO you spell that word?), angry, almost-thirteen year old, J. Let’s see, in the five days, he repeatedly asked to go home, shouted at us no less than twenty times, kicked his bike, broke his skateboard, smacked a museum exhibit, and bugged every living soul in that cabin (except two-year-old Izzy – she always smiled at him and he always smiled back) until I was literally in tears.
In his defense, I understood his anger. Wherever we went, people would turn to look at him because he made loud Tourette noises, and many who turned would make loud comments. We had one woman glare at him every time he tic’ed. It was hard.
“Why does he make that noise?”
“Is he coughing?”
“What IS that?”
"That's a funny noise, huh?"
One athletic-looking lady turned to her husband and said, “It’s Tourette’s,” then turned to my sister and asked, “Right?” The husband, too, turned to my sister, saying, “Don’t they have medication for that?”
“Yes, but it takes a long while to figure out what medication.”
Exhausting. He exhausted me. The condition exhausted me. As a note, an early epilogue, the Keppra at a higher dose (2 grams a day) seems to be working, finally. Yes, he started doing it again just now, but there seems to be a window here. I’ll give it another week before setting an appointment with the neurologist, to demand that they fix this, before school starts because there is no way he can sit in a classroom shout-tic’ing.
We did have fun, though. No, really. We were surrounded by pure mountainous beauty, thinned air, and a sense of freedom. The best part had to be the wild mountain bike ride down Mammoth Mountain (on the “easier trail”), sliding and careening, on a shock-installed mountain bike (which is set in such a way that our knees were up much higher than we were used to making for quite the period of adjustment). While the ride was sandy, there was the potential for more experienced riders to catch air and hit higher speeds on the curves. We, on the other hand, cruised down the trail – I fell one time, got the bruise to show for it – in about two and a half hours (we were told it would take an hour). Sure, we had a six-year-old with us and he did slow us down (sweet TH, he was a good sport), but I’m not sure my sister and I would have gone all that much faster. My sons, though, and D (after J and D got over their mountain-biking discomforts), jammed down the trail, having to wait nearly half an hour for the rest of us.
The nights were chilled, a fantastic difference from here in the lowlands. The hiking around the campground gave us gorgeous views of a tumbling waterfall and the most peaceful, lapping lake. Fishermen spotted the water’s skin, a deep, wavy blue in the sun. The kids went jeeping with their uncle – all six of them piled into the old army jeep while DH rode like mad over trails to Lake Mary for a boat ride, or into town for a pizza lunch. One morning they went fishing – the boys in the fishing boat, the girls on the dock with D (who surprised himself by learning to bait the hook and cast the line). Our dinners consisted of margaritas, slow barbecues, and the sound of the kids playing on the rocks around the cabin. Our nights after the children went to bed, had the four of us chatting until late, until our sides hurt with hushed laughter, and our eyes just couldn’t stay open any longer.
Our one adventure – a flat tire on the way to the fish hatchery. Funny, that, D looking shocked, the sound of air from the tire, the sinking to the right of our black Suburban, the kids yelling with pure joy to see the flat tire. We all climbed out and DH grinned, nodded, determined to get the spare on way before the triple-A could even roll a truck out the driveway. The kids began wandering the open field surrounding us and I followed them, finding an obsidian chip which pushed them to hunt even more. They had such a good time hunting for the black, shiny rock they didn’t want to leave. We did though – we visited the hatchery, watching the hundreds of rainbow trout in their open tanks, hundreds that would be dumped into the lakes for the fishermen.
We were sad to leave – the five of us could have stayed longer but I opted for the drive down the hill along with my sister. I couldn’t bear much more of J’s upset. Also, the kids love being their cousins…left alone, just the five of us, sadly, I felt just wouldn’t be the same. There’s too much space between them. They seem like three only children, or three first-borns. They butt heads far too often.
So we’re down the hill, back in the Los Angeles heat. School’s around the corner. The day’s slow. I overheated a boiled egg in the microwave and it exploded much to our amazement…twenty seconds on high! Yellow pulp spread all over the inside of the microwave and on top of the stove’s burners. Like snow, like fine paint.
We’re home again, after such a short jaunt.