Driving down my street this morning, I was struck by the culture shock. Leafy trees outnumbered the people who were out and about -- the norm for 9:30 in the morning in my neighborhood -- but a stark contrast to a weekend full of concrete and crowded sidewalks. While it was a relief to drive my own car rather than jockey for position on a standing-room-only train, and to have room to maneuver on sidewalks, rather than being pushed and pulled by the flow of a crowd that seemed more competitive than cooperative, still, a normal Monday morning in the neighborhood felt somehow strange. And my stark awareness of this strangeness only intensified the feeling.
Re-establishing my routine felt simultaneously disappointing and satisfying. Instead of roaming the streets of Manhattan, I was walking down manicured paths on a college campus. Rather than leaving wet towels to be exchanged for clean, I was doing laundry, washing away the traces of a weekend I didn't necessarily want to leave behind. No longer checking things off my packing list, I'd returned to checking things off my to-do list.
By the end of the day, I suspect that things will feel normal again. I'll pick up the threads of last week and tie them to the strings of the week ahead and before I know it, the weekend will be the blur that marked a milestone in my daughter's life, while, elsewhere in the world, it marked something much less celebratory.
But blurry or not, it's a memory I get to keep. And perhaps my hesitation to put it behind me is creating the soft wash that makes the familiar seem misty and strange, while still recognizable.
Rather like the idea of my baby girl turning 18.