Space shuttle

Launching a spacecraft into space is one thing. Bringing it back is another.

Spacecraft re-entry is tricky business for several reasons. When an object enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it experiences a few forces, including gravity and drag. Gravity will naturally pull an object back to earth. But gravity alone would cause the object to fall dangerously fast. Luckily, the Earth’s atmosphere contains particles of air. As the object falls, it hits and rubs against these particles, creating friction. This friction causes the object to experience drag, or air resistance, which slows the object down to a safer entry speed. More: Spacecraft Reentry

This morning, I am experiencing a strong sense of gravity pulling me back to earth as I re-enter real life after vacation. Not to mention drag, air resistance, friction, and much more. And that’s just how my body feels.

Here are the stats so far:

Kid peeing the bed in the night: 1
Number of beds peed on: 2 different ones
Kid saying he is sick this morning, then perking up after he realizes he cannot stay home: 1
Adults feeling very tired and cranky: 2
Still tired but relieved grandparents: 2

Not so graceful, is it?

What is your key to graceful re-entry after vacation? Space and time and acknowledging the bumps likely to be straight ahead are key to mine. It also probably depends on how sensitive you are to change. My body feels transition coming days before it is going to take place (I take after you, right mom?). In preparation, I try to consciously adjust my mind and body to what is coming ahead. This is akin to emotionally bracing for a collision. Usually, once I am actually in the process of transitioning, I am stable and fine. It is the physical and unconscious anticipation of change that catches me by surprise every time.

When I was a teen, my father  called me “Rachel Test” because I would get so anxious in the anticipation of every single exam (my name is Rachel Tess, so it was a very clever play on words, though I certainly didn’t appreciate it at the time.) Once the day actually arrived, I was clear-headed and calm. When we lived on a sailboat for a year, I would sweat the small stuff like running out of chips and salsa. During a storm however, I wanted to be at the helm, steering the boat. Amazingly, timid me felt invincible during those times. On Saturday, our last day in California, I felt tired and teary. Yesterday, flying home, I was determined and settled. It is what it is.

Anyway, today it is back to schedules and cleaning and digging warm socks out of a drawer, negotiating use of the car and facing down the deadlines which seemed far away before we left town. Jeremy and I will have to remind ourselves that just yesterday we were madly in love instead of at odds with one another. How quickly one forgets and moves on!

Hopefully we have allowed ourselves enough space and time to accommodate a safer re-entry speed, one that will allow us to maintain some sense of grace and avoid a bumpy landing.

Tomorrow I’ll post some photos from our trip.