I took a trip back to Rome tonight, and if it was only in my mind, it felt wonderfully real. For two hours and twenty minutes, I wandered the halls of the Vatican, descended into the crypt of St Peter's, screeched through the crowded streets, and rediscovered Bernini's statues in several churches throughout the city. It was quite a heady feeling to have wandered the same paths just two weeks ago. There was much publicity in Rome when I was there about 'Angels and Demons', since it opened that very week. Both the book and the movie were negatively reviewed, but just to see Rome was a treat. It was beautifully filmed and it felt as if I was running from the Pantheon to Santa Maria del Popolo to Piazza Navona to Castel Sant'Angelo. I am ready to see the film again if just for the views of Rome!
Tara has been home but I have not seen her. She stayed for dinner tonight and came to the movie. I have discovered that the only way to keep her close by is to offer entertainment. I have to remember that being nineteen years old means not spending time with parents and family. I worry about her in Ecuador. It will not be safe for her to run around all night. I cannot control her, and she feels independent and omnipotent. It will be difficult to just let go and let her be.
The household has been running smoothly without me. Maya has become more independent and kept asking for the assignment of chores this evening. I wonder if all the packing and organizing and cleaning that has been the focus for the past weeks has led to this eagerness to help out and be a part of the process. I heard her talking to my parents on the phone and explaining that she would be missing a bit of school when we travel to Canada for my neice's graduation, and that it wasn't a problem to miss the last days of classes because not much was being taught anyway--I remember explaining things exactly the same way a few weeks ago! Whenever I am gone for a few days, I am struck by how quickly she is growing and changing and maturing.
My office survived without me too. Is it because I have been organized and carefully transferring and discharging patients? Or because I am distancing myself and letting go? I have had this huge pile of papers on my desk that stare at me dissapprovingly; I pulled everything out of the file cabinets to force myself to face the dreaded paperwork. I have not allowed myslef to shove papers into drawers hide from the work I need to do. Sometimes I am too busy seeing patients so I cannot go through the piles, sometimes I want to avoid them and get busy with everything but dealing with them, but today the stacks were diminished and I can see an end to my work. Who will I be when I have no more charts or patients or papers to examine? Will I be relieved or will I conjure up more to do to maintain my sense of purpose? I keep adding more days and weeks to my schedule as I delay that final day and hour. I am at my other office tomorrow, where similar challenges await me.