We were gone for four days. Four days, a mere three and a half hours away by car. We try to do this every year – a long weekend with our kids, away from all the requirements of life as we define them when focused on our daily routines. In the mountains, we are faced with intermittent connectivity, one tv (somewhat inaccessible) and nothing but the breeze and the vistas demanding our attention.
We played board games.
We talked with each other.
We napped (not together).
The guys golfed; my daughter-in-law and I read, spa’ed, and pondered nothing more serious than what to eat for lunch.
And I got the snippets that sustain memories and my heart…My son upstairs in the loft, while downstairs I could hear him sigh in his sleep. He used to do that when he was a little boy. Just a sigh out of the arms of Morpheus, tender and calm. Listening to the melody of the kids caught up in unguarded laughter, oblivious to the delight it evoked in me. Missing the one couple who didn’t make the trip this year. Stepping out on the deck in the middle of the night and whispering thank you’s to the sky, so abundantly lit with stars that I was left breathless. Another memory to include in the passage of time.
And then we got home. And I become certifiable.
What is it? Why do I feel completely obsessed with ensuring that the nest be properly feathered after such an abbreviated absence? Get to the supermarket and refill the coffers (we were gone four days, there was only one woman here hangin’ with the Sirs – how much food was missing? Not much), buy milk, extra coffee, juice, fruit…Laundry – after all, we must have sullied loads of clothes while spending a long weekend dressed in nothing but shorts and t-shirts. Sheets? Changed – though no one slept in our bed. Quick trip to PetSmart for a treat for the Sirs who had to endure the indignity of being completely spoiled and coddled while we were gone.
One should never be her own therapist, for I am already scouring the DSM-V for my diagnosis.
It’s good to be home – with too much laundry, too little food in the fridge and a whole lot of warm fuzzies in my heart for this remarkable family o’ mine. The delight of feeling cool air on my face, the awesome humility that one feels when looking at the silhouette of mountains which stand boldly reminding me of how inconsequential I am in the phenomenon known as the world.
Seeing the boys in the morning as they would arrive in the kitchen for coffee, still bearing a resemblance of the little guys they once were – hair messed, eyes puffy, faces still soft with sleep. Tender silence and soft chatter about the plans for the day. They’d go off to golf with Andy while the girls (women really, but everything is relative – pun intended) and I lagged behind, holding on to the morning without the requirement of tee times. A trip to the gym, a morning at the spa…blackberry picking and wine tasting, time for some reading and napping and talking.
Later in the day, I’d lie down in our room just to listen to the banter of these six amazing people, their laughter like music on the air. The back-and-forth of their teasing – relentless though it seems to me, a pleasure for them. We’re as dysfunctional as any other family – with regrets and memories that still itch under the skin – and love that can both soothe and singe. And when we parted with whispered “I love you s” there remains the unspoken comfort that wherever they go, we are all together regardless. Fiercely protective of each other, defending our family craziness with defiance and moving forward with the certainty that there will always, always be us. And I cry as always, for my body can’t hold all this love and there are no words to explain the tears. One will hug extra hard, one will tease me until I laugh and one will email me later to check in with the crazy woman they have for a mother.
“This is part of what a family is about, not just love. It’s knowing that your family will be there watching out for you. Nothing else will give you that. Not money. Not fame. Not work.” — Mitch Albom
And for my boys and their loves, for Andy – I love you all more than my heart can possibly hold. Welcome home.