I left home in 1996. I was fresh out of high school and the world beckoned. I moved about three hours from my hometown — far enough away to spread my wings (and make stupid decisions without stern parental repercussions), but close enough to get home if I missed it or if there were family emergencies. In the first couple of years, I went home a lot. My mom would make my favorites for dinner and laundry was free. Sometimes, my mom would take me to a live show and we’d go for dinner afterward. My dad and I would go for hikes, or he’d help me out with the inevitable car repair that my aging truck required.
When Husband joined the military, we knew life was going to be a trade off. The financial stability, health insurance and roof over our head would come at a price. While we could have all of these things, we would have to move — a lot. Husband and I are both nomads at heart, so not staying in one place didn’t really phase us much. It’s been hard for my extended family though. The visits have become fewer, especially the farther we seem to move.
Recently, I did something that I haven’t done since I was pregnant with Boy Child. I went home by myself. There was no ulterior motive to my visit — no events I had to attend, no real agenda except to visit with my mom and dad for a week. There was just a voice in my soul that kept whispering that it was time to go. Time to go without the kids, without Husband and to be present with them. So, I did.
That week was one of the most wonderful visits I’ve had with my parents. We did nothing and everything, and it was all it should have been. There were days we didn’t make it out of pajamas, and days where we did a little birthday shopping for Girl Child. Mom and I discovered the joys of reclining seats at movie theaters while watching one of the best movies either of us had seen in awhile. Dad and I talked while loading up his truck with items destined for the local landfill. I helped him take apart furniture and we both thanked the IKEA gods for making it simple to put back together.
I was also fortunate enough to have dinner with friends that have become my family. I had not seen my friend N in a few years, and we were able to meet for a couple of hours. Sparky and Brain actually changed a flight so we could at least have dinner before they started their weekend with Brain’s sister and I started my long trek back to Europe.
I know it’s not easy to be able to just get up and go. But if you can, you should sometime. I’ve been so blessed with the relationship I have with Mom and Dad. They’ve done so much for me throughout my life, that honestly, coming home for a weeklong visit sometimes seems pale in comparison. Just simply hanging out with them, chatting in pajamas with coffee in hand, watching “General Hospital” or “The Bachelor,” and being able to be present was absolutely worth it.