"The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are."
This past week has had the word home whispering a different meaning into each ear. In one direction it had us going back home and in the other, had us coming home. Two very distinctly separate definitions, and yet both warm and welcoming versions of the same.
What surprised me the most about the former, about going home, is that after four short months of living multiple states away from Michigan, I wasn't aware of just how settled I'd become in our new home state of Florida... until this visit to the cold and snowy north. It was nostalgic and exciting, winter white and sparkly, and just a little bit home.
While I wish I could say that my time there was filled with warm fireside chats, sleepovers with friends and stay-up-all-nights breathing in the laughter that comes from retelling childhood stories with siblings, I was there for work... and it devoured my time. But this girl knows how to rally, and when I have a free morning and a yard of freshly fallen white beckoning through the frosted window, we run through the house to find matching mittens and another layer of pants so we can trollop our way through it.
And then quickly throw off the layers and dive into a tub of warm bubbles to thaw out.
I take back the sleepover thing... there were sleepovers, for my girl and her friends. She stayed with one of her besties that she's been missing, and skyping with often, and then it was her cousin's turn to stay the night with us. Followed by early morning pancakes made by papa and a rousing game of floor tic-tac-toe... you know, the usual sleepover kind of thing.
Kept busy with work, long drives and fun adventures on the icy Michigan winter roads, I found myself with plenty of time to think and reflect during those lengthy trips in the car, to enjoy waiting for the tow truck to show up and change my flat tire because it was the first time that I actually sat still and was forced to be still. And while I whipped out some extra lip gloss and rallied for girls night out, I missed curling up into my parents' guest bed with my littlest curled into my side. The entire trip felt like it was a push-and-pull. It was was a mix of the beautiful calm of a deep snow and the fast pace of trying to do too much in too little time. It was settled in "my kids are loving this time visiting with friends and family" and yet contradicted by the unsettling "I'm missing this time with them, this adventure with them"... and would subsequently try and make up for it in every other waking moment that I could.
I think I've recovered.
It also felt really good to know that despite having a schedule so tight that any additions meant another subtraction from the sleep category, I could also be a good mom. I was there as often as I could physically be, and when I was there, I was present. I think it's something mothers are born into with the arrival of their first, this rallying thing. And sometimes, when we're running on fumes and living on caffeine, we realize just how much we're capable of... Just how much we know how to love.
Now that we're all home, again, we've been spending time together with quick trips to the park for swings and slides under a warm veil of sunshine.
We met a new "neighbor" as well.
Our first evening home called for a celebratory picnic at the beach for dinner. My heart swelled with the crests of the water and then sank back into the rhythm of my babies, of the this-is-home-right-here echo that my boy uttered as we arrived at the beach... "Brayden home."
I drank in the blushing sky and the warm salty air. Golden rays caught my breath as they danced off of my girls' curls. And our dinner? Well, we decided to share it with a few birds.
Which just so happened to be the best idea ever, because our laughter literally drowned every other sound on the beach that night in it's sweet chorus.
As we pulled two tired little ones off of the sandy shore, two little ones who would rather create drawings in the sand with their toes than head home for bed, Aliyah let out a breathless, "This is the bestest day ever."
To which she's followed up with a repeat every day since. Home, sweet home, baby.
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