I’ve been anticipating it for months. I’ve been counting down days, planning activities in my head, and dreaming of one of life’s most precious gifts. . . time.
Home. . .
To be honest, I’ve been sitting here for quite some time. A hush has fallen over the house as three sleepy little ones and a tired bigger one have drifted to dreamland. I sit alone in our darkened living room, staring at the bright glare of the screen just trying to figure out how to write this post. Truthfully, I want to make it happy and pretty and lovely and describe all the laughs and smiles and memories made. And really. . . there was a lot of that. I ask myself. . . do you really need to mention that? I say to myself. . . talking about that will shadow all the good you want to remember.
It’s no use, though, I’m not sure that I can write any more if I don’t just say it.
Home is different now. Mom’s not there.
As we were driving home from my Dad’s with three worn out kids in the backseat I asked Chad. . . do you think I will always feel this? This sadness that something is missing?
Probably, he answered me.
Of course most days are just fine. We go about our business and do our thing and life moves on and time marches on. Joy is experienced, love is felt, and life is as beautiful as it always has been. . . or even more so, really. Always, always there is this dull ache that wishes. . . dreams. . . that it could have been different.
Oh, how I wish she were still here.
Being at home only heightened that feeling. Memories flood in like waves at high tide. I am slammed seemingly from every direction. . . In my mind I hear her voice, in my heart I see her smile, and with all my being. . . I wish it were different.
Please don’t hear me wrong. . . I love going home. But two years later we are still healing and even though I don’t talk about it here as much as I used to. . . it’s still there. I wish she could see me be a Mom. I wish I could talk to her about cooking and how to discipline and how she balanced life and the latest James Patterson book. I wish she could tell Charlie, Chanelle, and Meadow story’s about what I was like when I was little and the crazy stunts I pulled like hiding dinner I didn’t want to eat in the cupboard. I wish I could hear her say to Charlie, you are just like your Mom. . .
. . . but I can’t. So, the story telling is up to me. And I made sure that my kids heard plenty of stories last week. The place I was most excited to take them was my most favorite place on earth. This beautiful park in my hometown. . .
I force fed them stories of cross country races, hours of journaling, friendships made, and even of the time my picture was in the paper with Katy and Stacey as we walked down this very street during junior high. Watching as they played on the exact same rusted and outdated playground equipment that I enjoyed as a child was like food for my soul.
One of the most anticipated activities of the week was our visit to the pool. . .
I lived in my hometown all of my pre-married life, so you would think that nothing was a surprise to me. Not so. One day we decided to drive up the road 20 minutes and found a lovely and almost completely deserted beach.
Oh my. I had three happy children and one happy husband. Charlie and Chanelle dug their feet into the sand, built sand castles, swam, and laughed and played to their hearts content.
But as much as we filled our time with a lot of running and going and doing. . . we did our fair share of sitting and being, too. One afternoon while Meadow napped I took Charlie and Chanelle to a park down the street. It was hot and quiet and my exhausted little ones were happy just to sit under a tree and dig in the dirt.
It was during this quiet afternoon that it all felt so surreal. Me, a Mom?
During those moments I thought back to the timid girl that grew up in this town and I tried to remember what that girl had hoped for. I thought about the dreams she had and attempted to recall what she wanted for life. I thought about how little that girl knew. How she could have never dreamed up the cards that life had dealt her–both the wonderful and the challenging. As I sat there and watched Charlie bury seeds in the ground and Chanelle dig her nails into the loose earth I couldn’t remember anything about what that girl had hoped for. All I could think about is how incredibly blessed I really am.
Time away will do that. At least it does for me. . . it draws me toward reflection. Being in the place where life began brought to the forefront how much has truly changed. I guess what life has taught me (and continues to teach me) is that rain will fall on us all. It’s inescapable. Sometimes life hurts. It can be heart wrenching and soul crushing. But somehow, even though I don’t understand exactly how, it is the hard times and the challenges and the doubts and the questions that teach what we are really made of.
Personally, I’ve come to believe that we are all made up of some pretty powerful stuff and most of us truly are stronger than we think we are.
Our time away was really good. Too quick, of course, but still good. On our way home we did all we could to stretch our time away a little longer. . .
It’s our final week of summer break this week so we’ll be doing our best to soak it all in.
Have a happy Monday!!