So with an extremely disappointed heart, I will tell the story anyway and hope it comes out through words instead of the pictures I prayed you would see. Especially a special you out there who would really appreciate it a lot.
Yesterday morning started with Andy and Grayson driving two hours somewhere in the middle of nowhere to go hiking. In case you're new here, I married Grizzly Adams' younger and way hotter third cousin. He has been chomping at the bit to get Grayson hiking in the woods since the boy could wear shoes other than Robeze.
So they got up at 5am, left the house by 6am and I paced my behind off with Abby in tow until 10am. At which time I texted love notes like, "WHERE ARE YOU?!" and "IS IT RAINING THERE?!?" every thirty minutes or so. My husband is a very lucky man.
Finally, around 11:00 Grayson calls and tells me all about the "graceful" drops of water he saw on leaves and how Daddy lifted a tree from the road where they took a short cut.
"Drops of water? Falling trees? Are you in the car, Honey?"
Okay, whatever, they were an hour away. I could breathe again.
But only for a minute because my mom and I were attending a reading in a theater with doors that would shut and make us feel like gerbils in a tin cup.
Neither of us do theaters of any type: movie, plays, dance recitals, piano lessons, you name it we avoid it. We're both a little bit funny that way. Something about quiet rooms and lots of people make us both itchy and short of breath. I almost didn't graduate college because of it. Mom almost didn't get past the parking garage because of it. There was absolutely zero chance either of us would make it all the way through a crowded room filled with long gaps of silence and our own hearts beating louder than your average bass drum.
But we did it.
Once the first reader took the stage we were hooked; we were stayers. Stories were read by real women about real children who were so much like our own. Smart, funny, eloquent women read a snippet of their lives in less than four minutes while painting a picture in our minds for a lifetime. As a member of the audience, we swooned over toddlers "hoovering" tablecloths at dinnertime. We giggled over "daily negotiations with the terrorists" that are our children. And finally we sobbed for a mom who spoke of living a life she doesn't recognize or want without her precious 12 year old son. She stood in front of us like a tiny dancer saying words that echoed in all of our ears for the rest of the readings. I'm quite sure the entire room was holding their breath to the point of feeling dizzy. Or maybe that was just me.
Mom and I had a time, we did. We made it all the way through the entire show and even found our car on G2 afterward. There was some doubt considering I almost parked us on a loading dock the first time around.
So after the show, I met G-pa T at our halfway point to return Mom. Not before my dear mother just about stomped a hole in the passenger floor with her imaginary brake pedal. No matter how slow we drive I think moms in general have a hard time relaxing when their offspring is behind the wheel. I think they see a five year old in a bucket seat. In the same breath as the compliment of my navigating skills she meeps out, "Oh Dear, I have to ask you. Could you please slow down?"
"Yes, Mom. I can slow down but that lane is called the shoulder."
Thankfully, our halfway point happens to be the only place in the world I consider my true home. It was my (late) grandparents' house. My house that I grew up in for most of my life: where I had sleepovers, sneak-outs, prom dates, college heartbreaks, post graduate sleeping marathons. This place is my heaven on earth, a beautifully mature neighborhood that hasn't been touched at all by time or economic demise. The neighborhood has only improved over time; trees reaching across each other like old friends rubbing elbows, hilly roads that beckon you to roll down the windows and breathe in the damp earth beneath it. It is my mecca.
This neighborhood drips with wildflowers, green and waving landscapes, and houses nestled so comfortably in their sweet spots you can almost hear the grass purring.
It is heaven on earth to me.
So much so I was thinking about heaven and Anna and Jack and my grandparents and that smell of juicy trees saying, "This place is magical. Simply magical."
Seconds later, do you know what almost ran right the hell under the front right wheel of my tire?
A peacock!!! In a residential neighborhood. With not a soul around. Abby was even asleep in the back seat. No joggers, no mailman, absolutely not one other person around to assure me I wasn't freaking crazy.
A gorgeous blue sparkly peacock wobbled itself right in front of my van, fanned its back feathers out for me to see and I did the only thing I could think to do. I parked and got out to talk to it.
There I was, two hours after an extremely emotional ordeal in a theater I was supposed to run away from, in the only place on earth I consider heaven, alone in the face of a miracle that was this brilliant wild luminescent blue and gold bird, the rarest bird of all: a peacock.
And now you know why I am heartsick that the pics did not come out. I drove as fast as I could to the nearest drug store, bought the only disposable camera they had, and broke sound barriers to get back to where the peacock had been.
It was gone.
Was it a dream? Did it happen? Had I fallen asleep at the wheel and crossed over to the other side with a peacock?
Finally I see a man playing with his kids. "Excuse me, Sir? Did you see that...peacock?" knowing full well I sounded like a crack smoker in a minivan.
"Oh, him? Yes, he's around here all the time. He was someone's pet and they've been trying to catch him for a year now. They set traps, had Animal Control out here, nobody can catch him. We call him Elvis. Hang out a bit, he'll be back."
Dear God in heaven above. His name is Elvis?
Of course it is.
So I hung out, drove by a few more houses calling for a bird named Elvis until the man I originally spoke with shouted out to me. "He's here, ma'am! He's in their backyard."
And darnit if I didn't trespass all over a stranger's yard to get pictures of Elvis the wild peacock living in my old neighborhood. Because that made perfect sense at the time.
I had to document this miracle to tell you, show my kids, take to the shrink I'm going to need to process all of this. But the pictures did not come out at all. There are four sheets of empty frames with only an outline of a tree. I almost cried right there in the lobby of the photo store. "No peacock?" I ask the little Asian man waiting on me.
"No car?" he asks worried about the unstable mom standing before him.
"No peacock in the pictures?" I try again with tears streaming.
"Pictures too dark. Only few came out. Only few. You need better camera for peacock."
Yes, yes, I know. I need a much better camera for peacock. Have mercy.
I don't know about you, but I need to process the fact that Elvis not only lives but he is bebopping around in my old stomping ground where, evidently, miracles still abound.
*Just for the record, here are the pics that made it.
Hi Sadie. You're so cute but you are not a peacock.
Hi there license plate with an eagle on it. You are a bird but you are not a peacock.
Hey there bumper sticker that says, "LivingComfort.com" on it. You. Are. Not. A. Peacock.
Hello worthless empty frames. You are a peacock.