I’ll skip over the travel, since that’s the least favorite of my trip, though I will say I watched four entire movies and it was like gorging on candy nonstop with no parental guidance. The first stop was Rome, which is pretty hard core when you’ve been travelling for twelve hours, with a six hour time difference, in one hundred degree heat, and need to hit the Coliseum, Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps, in one day.
Yeah. HARD. CORE.
There’s something about Rome that hangs heavily in the air. Ghosts of the past. From the rubbled streets, to the soaring architecture, intricate statues, and the Pope at its center, you are immediately steeped in history and realize how young America really is. From bloodshed, gladiators and ruin, to geniuses of epic proportions creating pure beauty and grace, it’s the best of both worlds. Your mind can swim with too many details so I let my vision take over my senses and just soaked it all in as I was soaking wet from the sun beating down on me.
Looking at the Sistine Chapel reminded me of how small I am and how big the world is. But it was only one man, who showed up every day, to paint nonstop until his vision was met, that changed the world. A good reminder. The Pieta isn’t really cold marble. It looks alive, warm, with the Madonna’s cloak falling gently in deep wrinkles, and Christ’s body on her lap broken, with real blood and muscles beating through the glass pane that separated us.
The square at night is magic. Lit up, with the center rimmed with artists sketching and selling paintings in all varieties, the sun set and we sat at a cafe, sipping vino, eating pasta, and enjoying the crowds. We walked, ate gelato, popped into shops with hand carved Pinocchio toys, and delicate figurines, and got lost.
When my niece and I finally dropped into our twin sized hard beds, we admitted the next morning we’ve never slept so well or so deeply. I began to touch a tiny bit of a place I haven’t seen in a very long time. A sliver of quiet, of focus on me and my experiences, without worrying about others, or responsibilities. The tour guide took over for us – my own version of a BDSM dom who told me what to do and when. Some hated it. I loved it. I didn’t want to be in charge any longer, for a little while, I wanted to just be. I’d forgotten what that was like, beaten by my nonstop workaholic ways, desire to live life to the fullest and not miss anything, my need to be a great mom, supportive wife, loving daughter, wonderful friend. But now, I’d left it behind for a while, unable to check Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or email or phone texts.