Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Right now

One week until London and I don't want to go.

It's not that I don't want to be there. I dream of attending Evensong at St. Paul's Cathedral, where the bird woman from Mary Poppins sat and asked for "tuppence a bag." (Did you know that was Walt Disney's favorite song from all his movies?) I want to walk through Hyde Park and find CJane's special writing bench (and write on it, of course). I can't wait to visit the Sherlock Holmes museum on Baker Street. I plan to take pictures at the house where this movie was filmed and I will attend Mass at my hero Cardinal Newman's Brompton Oratory. I want to see as many of London's little nooks and crannies as I can, drinking in the sights and sounds of the UK (excuse the mixed metaphor) until my heart overflows with Britain's beauty.

But right now, I really want to be here.

Tonight my family had Estella over to dinner. She is 15, a sophomore in high school whose mother just died. My parents, who are her baptismal godparents, are living up to the sacred duty of godparents and adopting her. She is sweet and clever. We love her. Right now, I'd rather be at home helping Estella adjust to living with my loud, ridiculous family and helping my family adjust to another lovely sister.

Tonight I was checking my email at about 8 pm when I heard little feet running to my side. My littlest siblings, Joseph and Angela, pleaded for me to come snuggle them and read them poems before bed- our nightly tradition when I am home. Angela also wanted to watch this awesome video, which has lately become an obsession with her.

I tucked in Angela first, after reading her favorite poem. Next I went to Joseph's room, but he is older and much more resistant to falling asleep. He made me read this poem twice, but we were halfway through the book of poems before he began to nod off. I finally asked if he wanted me to sing him a song, and he nodded yes.

"What song?" I asked. "You pick," he said.

I pulled out an old favorite. Have you ever seen The Music Man? In one scene, a girl is wishing goodnight to her "someone" on the evening star, and I like to substitute the name of the child I'm singing to instead.

"Good night my Joseph, good night my love. Sweet dreams be yours, dear, if dreams there be," I sang. He closed his eyes at last. I sat there, holding his hand, and I realized it will be four months before I see him again. He and Angela will both have birthdays while I am gone. He will perform in his elementary school's play and I won't see his big debut. Four months is a long time in the life of a 20-year-old and it is an eternity in the life of a little kid. Right now, I'm thinking that this whole London thing was a bad idea. Sweet Home Chicago is looking really tempting.


  1. Tess, I know it's hard to leave a home and people you love, even for four months. You will miss your family and I'm sure they'll miss you. But wouldn't it be a good idea to talk to your parents about it before making a definite decision to change your plans. I have a feeling that, as much as they will miss you, they're probably really proud that you have this wonderful opportunity.

  2. Thank you so much for your concern, Sister. I agree- it is a wonderful opportunity and I wouldn't miss it for anything. I am not seriously planning to cancel the trip. It was just some temporary sadness for what I'll leave behind.