When astronauts come back to earth, they spend a period of time in limbo, back on earth but not yet quite home. They get their muscles back in earth shape, and the doctors make sure they’re ok. I like to think it’s a little bit relaxing for them, this in-between time, but realistically, it’s probably about as relaxing as being a hospital patient. After that time in their space capsule, working through a busy schedule of experiments and projects, they’re probably longing for some real downtime, hanging out with their families and friends, eating real food and watching tv. I imagine the re-entry limbo must drive their families a little bit crazy, to have their mom or dad or husband or wife back, but still out of reach.
Re-entry has been a mushy kind of limbo for me this week, which is why it’s taken me so many days to write about our visit. I don’t have much to add to Elrena and Libby‘s posts about it; they cover most of the highlights (the food! the Mama, PhD conversations! and more food!) Of course neither of them could write with detail about Eli’s ER visit, but neither can I — all three of us missed it, busy with the Mama, PhD round table. But Mariah knew how to get Tony and the boys to the ER, and when I got home, Eli came jumping down the hall to show me his hospital bracelet. “Stitches on my head!?” he exclaimed, “That’s crazy!” You said it, buddy.
We went to the Air & Space Museum the last day of our trip and wandered around marveling at the planes and space capsules hung from the ceiling. We looked closely at the Spirit of St Louis, which is fabric-covered, and carried Lindbergh across the ocean even though it has no front window. Eli climbed into the cockpit of a Cessna, which was roomy for him, and we all squeezed into SkyLab. I cannot imagine climbing into one of these vehicles if it weren’t safely bolted to the museum floor, but Ben and Eli are at that explorer age, and the prospect of zooming suddenly off into space, like the boy in their beloved Planetron book, or Jimmy Zangwow, delights them. I like that in both stories, the boys are home in time for dinner.
Now we are home, and the boys have each built and rebuilt their new Air & Space Museum lego sets many times (space shuttle for Ben, airbus for Eli). We continue to read Planetron every night before bed, and have just started another boy-in-space book: Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Ben has suggested a Virginia field trip to his kindergarten teacher (“It’s a pretty long trip,” he conceded); meanwhile, Eli has announced that he is a dog, and so sleeps with a ball (as well as with his patch blanket, his bear, his two doggies and his bunny). Life is returning to its normal orbit, quirky though it may be.