Monday, October 15, 2001

Back from The Netherlands

I went to visit my family in the Netherlands for a few days. It was a very fast visit. I left Tuesday, arrived in the Netherlands on Wednesday. Spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday there, and flew back on Sunday. So two days of traveling for a four days stay. Wow! It was so short because my MIL came over to take care of my oldest five and she could only stay for a week.

My father is not doing well, he has Parkinsons and prostrate cancer which has spread to his hips and his mind is more and more wandering. He has been in a nursing home for about 6 months now. I think this is the last time I have seen him in this life :-( I was OK with that when I was there, but now I am home, I am depressed about it all. Have been really sad today, maybe after the high of the trip, it is hard to get back to 'normal'. I visited him on four days, the only time I was sure that he knew who I was, was on the fourth day. The other days he was so out of it that I didn't think he recognized me.

I had Erik with me on the trip. He did well, apart from protesting a lot when I put him in his car seat in the plane. It was a looooong plane trip with a fussy, tired baby, but we did it. Flying was interesting. I had been a bit worried about it, after 9/11, but wasn't really worried while flying. I think I used up all my worrying when trying to make the decision to go or not. And having to try to keep Erik happy (or at least not too unhappy) took all my energy, no energy left to worry :-)

There was some increased security, but not as much as I had expected. I had selected a non American carrier, to minimize my risks. So I ended up with a lay over at Iceland, which I thought was worth it as opposed to a direct flight with an American carrier. Flying out of Boston had me show my passport more than usual, and an extra check on combination boarding pass / passport before entering the plane, but that was about it. Flying back from Amsterdam I had to be security cleared and somebody opened my suitcase and asked me some questions, but not that many either. The most security was when I flew back from Iceland to Boston. They boarded the plane really late and they searched all the carry-on luggage and did an extra weapon check just before we could board. It made the plane late and I arrived home midnight last night instead of 10pm I had hoped for. Oh well.

It was nice to show off Erik to family and friends and to meet some of them again. The weather was gorgeous, unusual for the Netherlands in this time of year. It was also nice to pick up lots of Dutch goodies, my suit case on the way back was packed with them.

Cees knew his grandfather is not doing well and when I phoned home he asked me 'Was grandpa still alive when you saw him? And when you left him, did you look really carefully to make sure he was still alive?' :-(

It was a short trip, but I am glad I went anyway. Erik is happy to be home again, I think he missed his siblings. He has been smiling at them and playing with them the whole day today. The kids were happy to have me home again, and were even more happy about the Dutch stuff I got them :-) Erik and I both are jet lagged, which is to be expected. As I said, I am depressed today, which I had not expected.
Still I think it was good that I went and saw my dad a final time. I am glad I had the opportunity.