More than pretty pictures: August and Linnea do Sweden (part one)

The picture is of August standing outside the Absolut Icebar in Stockholm, a rather cheesy version of my own ice bar fantasy (which takes place in a genuine ice cave rather than a refrigerated room, and we wear furs instead of the synthetic capes they slipped over our heads before we entered). It was our last stop in Stockholm and we toasted our wonderful adventure with vodka sipped from cups made of ice. And then we said goodbye.

When our plane finally landed at Logan airport on Thursday afternoon, it immediately became clear to me that I’d developed a sinus infection. August had been under the weather with an upper respiratory infection at the start of our trip, and inevitably I had contracted it as well, albeit a milder version. I am prone to sinus infections, and flying after an upper respiratory just about guarantees that one will develop. Although never a fan of feeling poorly, I was more than grateful that I was able to put it off until we were back in the states.

I hit the sack early and was up by 4 a.m. on Friday for a trip into Boston for a scan. After that was done, I slipped over to the Ear Nose Throat doctor with the hope that they could squeeze me in. Remarkably, they did; I got my prescription and was on the road again.

By evening it was all catching up with me, and for the past few days I’ve basically been in recuperation mode. However, I have so much to say about our brief sojourn; I really need to get started.

Going to Sweden was only half of what this trip was about. August and I have not spent this much time together in seven years. And I have to say, it was a  huge success. We had always had an easy camaraderie, that is, until he hit his teens. Aug starting smoking weed when he was in eighth grade. Lots and lots of weed. And cigarettes, and alcohol.  Although a pretty liberal person on most fronts, I’m not a fan and particularly not when it’s a kid (my kid). I wasn’t having it, and tried a variety of (well intentioned) but ultimately unsuccessful tacts. From counseling, to drug testing and yup, I even called the police once. It was bloody hell.

It was August who finally said enough. A month into his senior year of high school, he threw a few things into some boxes and moved to Colorado to live with his father. My heart was broken, but I also had to respect his determination to take another path. Perhaps predictably, within a month he wanted to come back. I said no.

August has really grown up (and I think maybe I have as well). He gave up the cigarettes three years ago; thereby earning that trip to Sweden. He still smokes pot (pretty accessible now in Colorado) but in moderation. Same for the alcohol. And, he’s been able to forgive me for my often misguided attempts to straighten him out. He’s incredibly stubborn (a trait I grudgingly admired) and he had to do things his own way. He also has a big heart, is terribly charming, and can be a ton of fun. Perfect travel partner.

In a few minutes I’ve got to drop Peter at the bus stop and drive to Boston for my scan results. Wish me luck, and I’ll pick this thread up again later.

14 responses to “More than pretty pictures: August and Linnea do Sweden (part one)

  1. Dear Linnea!

    I’ve so enjoyed the photos of your trip! I will tell you that I am raising a 14 year old son. And while he has yet to indulge in the more “teenage like” activities you describe, if I think back upon my own teenagerhood, I must accept that him doing so is a distinct possibility. So perhaps, I need to loosen the reins a little on his videogame obsession. In the big picture of things, it’s really just a thumbnail!

    Thanks for the insight!

    Blessings to you and yours!


    • Tracy, it’s not easy. However, video games are likely not a ‘gateway’ to other risky behavior. That doesn’t mean I haven’t fought back against that obsession as well; worried that my children would have over-developed thumbs whilst the rest of their little selves languished…also, luckily some of my own youthful misadventures have not been revisited by my kids (despite my own mother’s warnings). Lucky that! Linnea

  2. Joan Zimmermann

    Welcome home, Linnea! Loved all your wonderful photos and look forward to more. I am so glad you had time with your son. From teenager to terribly charming…. many of us know this route so very well. Congrats on a hard-earned journey. Feel better soon.
    Best to you,

    • Joan, when they are adorable little guys it is easy to believe that the rumors about teenagers are all overstated. Luckily, there is light (bright light) at the end of the tunnel. Hope you are well! Linnea

  3. Great to read you had such a special time with your sun and enjoyed Sweden so much. Good luck with your results, I hope for the best! love caroline

    • Caroline, hello and thank you! I hope to visit your home on one of these trips (big plans, high hopes)! Hope you are feeling well. Linnea

  4. Hola Svenska Sister,
    The pix are just great — looking forward to the accompanying anecdotes and observations. So glad you and Aug had a good trip together, too.
    Wishing you luck.


    • Swedish chica! We really, really loved Sweden. Think you should put it on your list (and we’ll go with, if you like…) Love, Linnea

  5. Always wishing you lots of luck!

    • Evie, I am on a Tuesday monthly rotation at the hospital now, so we’ve not had any waiting room encounters. You are in my thoughts however, and I hope you are doing well. (Philadelphia is on my short list of places to come visit). Li Linnea

  6. Hi talking Linnea!
    Pictures are great but one does not replace 1000 of your words.
    Whish you luck with the scan. Today had blood work and x-ray OK. They have no idea what to do with abnormal torso sweating.
    Good that you have a normal son, raising kids and battling cancer is not for sissies. You can appreciate this essay.

    • Guillermo, thanks for the link to the article, Puts it all (once again) into perspective, no? That’s a heap of bad luck for one young family and the article was incredibly moving.
      Glad your blood and x-ray checked out; sorry about that sweaty torso. It’s going to be hard to put a positive spin on that one…Linnea

  7. Vodka sipped from cups of ice! How cool (literally) is that?!

    • Pretty cool. Mine had a strand of licorice in it, and I thought it was a straw. My lips were so numb I didn’t realize I wasn’t actually sipping on it. Silly me. L

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