I am home.
I feel like I have been away forever, but in actuality it was only ten days.
Ten days of pure family time. Ten days of no computers, no emails, no phone calls, no stress, no bills, no stuff of life that pulls at you. One day I did jump on my husband's computer and check emails ever-so-quickly, "just in case" as I reasoned. Later on, I told Curt I was sorry I had. I could feel my buoyancy being pulled away ever so slightly. I felt infringed upon by life. And I didn't want my joy and lightness snatched away. So I yanked it back like a petulant child and vowed to stay away from the computer for the rest of the time.
But life, as it always does, had a way of creeping back in. I had planned to be at the beach for one week with my family and the next week with friends. My husband and son were going to leave on Sunday and hours later my friends Cindy and Kelly were going to arrive. We looked forward to long conversations about the coming year-- planning our homeschooling and talking about motherhood and marriage and life. We had visions of the children quietly playing board games and romping about on the beach while we sipped wine and smiled at each other. Though in hindsight I know it would have been far from that idyllic image, that is what we had built it up to in our minds.
And then yesterday just a few hours before they were going to be getting in their car I got that call about my grandmother that I knew was coming. And so, I called my friends and told them we would have to do it "later." In a matter of moments, my plans were changed drastically. Curt had no choice but to leave us there to pack and clean my uncle's house (that he so graciously let us use), as the plan was all along for him to return to work today. And so, last night just the kids and I hung out in the house, a bit bereft that our vacation was ending so abruptly and sadly. This morning we hit the ground running-- and while it took us four hours to pack and clean, we did it. And with five kids running around to boot! (I will admit that I was sort of looking around for a prize patrol to drop by and award me some sort of prize for the incredible feat of closing up a beach house, getting five kids fed, dressed and packed, and a car loaded. But the patrol somehow missed us, I guess.) By 12:30 we were headed down the highway to get home.
And the closer we got, the happier I was. I wanted to be home more than I wanted to be away. And that was a great transformation for someone who wanted another week at the beach just a day before.
Tonight I am reflecting on the awesome gift of a beach house from my uncle and how he will never know how much it meant to us for him to offer us this vacation. I am smiling as we load the photos onto the computer that we took-- so many memories! I am easing back into reality and enjoying the excuse to milk the vacation mode just one more time as I hastily order very expensive pizzas for our dinner. I am thinking about my grandmother and how she is finally at peace. I am flipping through my new Paula Deen magazine for some cooking inspiration, since apparently that will be expected again now that vacation is over. I am treasuring the thought of sleeping in my own bed. I am thinking about how much I missed talking to my girlfriend on the phone-- and how we respect each other's family time enough to not intrude, yet giggle like little girls when we finally can reconnect. I am praying for my mom, who misses her mom a lot already and has lots to go through this week.
Most of all, I am just glad to be home again.