First of all though, I’m pleased to announce the winners of the Blog Anniversary Giveaway! Congratulations, Amanda, Lauren and Sarah! I’ll be getting emails to you very soon. Thank you to everyone who entered. This was a fun giveaway to host.
One last thing before todays segment. I have some pretty exciting news that I get to share with y’all on Monday, so hold on tight and prepare for something that makes this little author very happy!
“Errrggg!” I wrestle my suitcase out of the closet and then stand back surveying it for a moment. I couldn’t believe how much energy it took to get the empty container from off the top shelf where I kept my luggage. I rest my arms before standing on my tip-toes to reach the smaller carry-on.
I drag the suitcases to my dressing room and lay them open on the counter and then stand back to take in the huge task in front of me. Packing is one of my favorite things to do. I love getting everything in order and deciding what outfits I’m going to wear on various days. I look at my wall of shoes, then slide my gaze along to my accessories. Then I turn in a full circle to look at my bottoms: pants, capers, skirts and my tops: dress-like-tops, blouses, polo shirts, tee-shirts and finally my dresses and formal clothes.
“Alright, here it goes.” I turn on some up-beat music then scan the email Mom had sent to the family with the different activities we’d be doing during the week.
The feeling of being alive and ready for an adventure flowed through my veins as I danced around the room, putting outfits together then carefully marking them and lying them in the suitcase.
“I take it you’re excited?” Katie’s standing there, watching me with an amused expression on her face.
“What happened to knocking?” I ask with a laugh. I turn down the volume on my phone. The general rule in our family is to knock before going into someone else’s room, but that doesn’t always happen.
“I knocked. There’s this thing called loud music. This loud music happened to be pouring out of your room. Hence the reason that a certain someone named Madalyn didn’t hear when her sister stood at her door knocking. And knocking.” Katie held up her hands. “Do you see my red knuckles? Yeah.”
“Sorry.” I turn the music off and give Katie my full attention. “What’s up?”
“I wondered if you needed any help packing?”
The warm feeling of being loved wells up inside of me. It’s kinda felt like our relationship has been strained for the last while, but I have to remind myself that deep down Katie is a kind and loyal sister, she just doesn’t always know what to do with my health problems. “Are you done already?” I ask. We aren’t leaving until the next day and I hadn’t expected to be the last person packing.
“You do realize that it’s getting late, don’t you?” Katie holds up her phone. “It’s after nine.”
I hold back a snort. Nine in the evening is just when my energy is starting to flow for the day. I forgot about how early my sister goes to bed each evening. “Well, if you’re not busy with anything else I’d love to have some of your fashion advice.”
“Sure.” Katie takes a seat on the chaise and then leans forward, her eyes expedient.
I pull out my navy blue and white striped, knee-length dress and black leggings out of my suitcase and hold them up. “So, I was thinking this would be a good thing to wear one of the days that we’re out sight-seeing. You know it’s kinda got the nautical theme going.”
Katie nods and I go on. “I was trying to figure out what shoes to wear with it though. Something that goes with the theme. Oh, and I am also going to wear my anchor necklace.” I gesture toward my jewelry case, knowing Katie will know what I’m talking about. It was a necklace Jason sent to me soon after he moved to California.
Katie walks over to my shoes, thoughtfully looking at the different flats and I got lost in a daydream.
“I’m so excited that we’re finally going to go to California as a family to visit Jason.” We’d been planning on it the year before but then those plans fell though when Katie and I both had engagements at home and so only our parents and Darrick went.
“These shoes.” Katie hands me a pair of dusty-blue flats.
I take them with a nod. “Perfect. I don’t know why I couldn’t figure that out on my own.”
“What are you most excited about with this trip?” Katie comes over and pokes through my suitcase before resuming her seat.
“That’s a good question.” Katie’s wonderful at coming up with thought-provoking questions. “I guess I’m looking forward to being able to see all the places Jason has told us about. I’m eager to eat at the restaurants he’s mentioned, visit his school, walk in the same parks, see the same views, that kind of thing.” I sound like someone who’s lovesick; in reality I just miss my brother. I carefully fold my PJ’s and then put them in their nitch. Everything in my suitcase has a place and I can’t stand deviating from the norm. “What about you?”
“It will be nice to talk to Jason face to face and hear about all the stuff he’s been learning. I know it’s going to boost Emerson Airlines a lot to have his expertise and sharp mind.” Katie gives me a thoughtful look. “I know he’s told us a lot over the phone and through video-chat, but still, that’s not the same.”
I nod, although deep down I’m starting to get concerned. What if all they talk about is business? I love our family business, I really do, and that’s what makes it so hard. I’ve not been able to do much with it because my energy level is so low and my brain fog is so high. That doesn’t make a winning combo. “What did you do in the office today?”
“The normal thing, you know?” Katie shrugs. “I spent a lot of time on the phone, solving problems, being a peacemaker, listening to concerns.” Katie is such a good, sympathetic person when it comes to business relations. Sometimes I wish she was more like that with family.
People sometimes ask me if it’s weird to fly in an airplane that has my last name written on it. It’s not something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, but I guess it’s cool. Maybe I’m biased, but I think Emerson Airlines is the best ever.
Often times when we’re flying somewhere we’ll go in one of our public airplanes because Dad likes being able to see for himself how things are being run. There’s been more than one flight attendant who Dad has publicly thanked for their service at one of our business meetings. There have also been a few workers who have been dismissed after treating Dad, or another passenger, rudely.
“Do you know what I think we should begin serving in all our flights?” I asked, holding up one of the little pretzels from the bag the flight attendant had just handed me.
“What would that be, Madalyn?” Dad asked from across the aisle.
Darrick was sitting next to me and I was afraid he was going to gag from the face he made.
“Hey, it’s really not that bad of an idea.” I elbowed him. Hard.
“Did you consider the fact that pickles have a rather strong oder that might not be pleasant for non-pickle-consuming guests?” Dad asked the question in his easy, mild-mannered way.
“Ok, I take it back.” I held up my hands in surrender. “But couldn’t we come up with something more exciting than pretzels and peanuts? Isn’t that what every airlines serves?” I scrunched up my nose as I peered at the little green bag in my hands.
“I had never thought about it that way.” Dad looks thoughtful as he ponders my suggestion. “What oder-free snacks sound good to you?”
I love the way that Dad takes all of us seriously and tries to involve us in the business.
I run though a list of snack foods in my head. Everything seems either too expensive, too messy or too unhealthy.
“We could do almonds or pecans instead of peanuts,” I say at last. All three are good sources of protein and that way we wouldn’t have to worry about people having peanut allergies.
Dad pulled his phone out and typed in a few words. “Well, that’s a nice idea but there is a difference in cost and with the amounts we buy, that adds up rapidly.” He shows me his phone: Peanuts per pound: Aprox. $2.49 Pecans per pound: Aprox. $8.50 Almonds per pound: Aprox. $9.90.
I gasp. “No kidding. Scratch that idea.” I rub my face with my hands, wishing I were better at the business side of things. Sometimes I feel like everyone in my family inherited a Harvard-worthy business brain while I got the leftovers. Only, there weren’t any leftovers.
Banging my tray-table down, I folded my arms on it and then rested my head on my arms. I was tired. The hum of the engines and the soothing feeling of being surrounded by my family who I love helped relax me and before long I was lost in the land of sleep.
“Do any of you see Jason?” I could tell by the lit in Mom’s voice that she was excited. She stood on her tip-toes, looking around the noisy baggage claim as Darrick pulled the last of our suitcases off the carousel.
“There he is.” Dad waves his arm in the air and lets out a low whistle that most people don’t seem to hear but instantly grabs my brother’s attention. Jason hurries in our direction.
“Is it possible that you’ve grown even more?” Mom wraps her arms around her firstborn and gives him a long hug.
“Unless you’re talking about my midsection, no.” Jason laughs and then turns to give me a hug. “Hey sis.”
I can’t wipe the grin off my face, it’s so good to be with Jason again, he’s so full of fun and laughter. I poke at his stomach which is hard from working out. “Growing in your midsection? Right…”
We head through the airport toward the exit where Jason parked the car (yes, there are some perks owning an airline), and I soak in the moment. Not only have I always wanted to go to California, I’m beyond happy to be here with my whole family. It’s been a lot harder getting everyone together for a trip since my older siblings hit college age. Thankfully Katie and Darrick both opted to do on-line courses at least to begin with. I don’t know what I would have done if they’d all left home and it was just little ol’ me.
God, it would be really delightful if I could feel well this trip. I climb in the back seat of the Cadillac Escalade Jason brought, the regulated place for the youngest kid, and settled my purse on my lap. Having energy would be a huge plus. Not having pain would be awesome as well. I try to ignore the throbbing I’ve been feeling in my legs for the last couple of hours. And no random outbursts of non-me-ish emotions would be beyond my dreams. In Jesus’ Name I ask this. The fact that I just arrived safe and sound in San Francisco, yet never once did I thank God for the blessings of the hassle free and safe trip make my face blossom with shame. Wow, I must be the most ungrateful person ever. I’m so sorry, God. Thank You so much for the safe trip today. Thank You that the pain wasn’t unbearable. Thank You for giving me the opportunity to be here.
“You’re quiet back there,” Jason looks in the rearview mirror and catches my eye when I look up to see if he was talking to me.
“Madalyn’s quiet a lot now,” Katie announces before I can think of anything to say.
“Our Madds is quiet?” Jason’s glances in the mirror again, his eyebrows raised. “It’s only been a couple of months since I’ve been home. When did this phenomena happen?”
Since I don’t exactly know how to say Ever since talking became too tiring or Since I decided opening my mouth to speak was too much work without sounding lazy or whiny, I decide to stay quiet and let the rest of my family give their reasons.
“I guess she’s just grown up.” Katie shrugs as if she can’t quite place why the change took place in her little sister. “She’s a lot more concise when she does talk though.” Coming from Katie I know it’s a compliment, yet somehow the ton of her voice is more surprised than complimentary.
“I think it’s because her brain is so full of music that all of her thoughts spill out when she’s playing and therefore she doesn’t need to use words any more.” Darrick gives me a wink and I know that he’s sticking up for me in his own roundabout way. Not that I need anyone to stick up for me when they’re discussing how many words fall out of my mouth in a day.
“I’ve formed my on theory on the matter,” Jason stops at a stop sign and then makes a right turn. “I think it’s because you two have decided to jump in and answer everything for her so she doesn’t need to talk any more.”
Katie’s face is startled when she turns around and looks at me. “You’re right, we did just answer for her, didn’t we?”
I think Katie’s so used to when we were kids and I was always talking that it hasn’t really hit her how much I’ve changed. This isn’t the first time that she’s answered a question for me, but most of the time I don’t care.
“So, why is it that you don’t talk as much any more?” Darrick gives me an intent look, totally focused on what I’m about ready to say.
Warring thoughts flood my brian. I go with the easy option. “I guess I’m just busy thinking.” I cringe as the words come out, hoping that my siblings don’t think I’m implying that they don’t think.
“I for one am anxious to hear what some of your thoughts are,” Jason turns on his turning signal and makes another left hand turn.