“Home is found not a on a map, but in the company of those you love the most”
We’ve just got back from family vacation. The first time in a year that both my sisters, my mum and I have been together. Daily squabbles, and disagreements only strengthen our bond and remind us of how it used to be; before I moved away, before my dad passed away. Twelve years on, and some moments are still hard.
When we are all together I feel complete. Mum trying to keep everyone happy and stress free, even when we protest and is successful most of the time. I am in awe of her stamina. My sisters are fun and silly, and the glee on the children’s faces only encourages them more. My youngest sister surprised us the most; assertive and energetic, she commandeered a boat , sat atop alligators and played with pythons. This time she had a partner in crime – a nephew who could keep up.
This vacation we got soaked by the splash of a giant whale, fed a school of dolphins, built sandcastles on the beach, swam in the sea, zip lined over crocodile infested waters, and played in the rain. Who knew Florida could be so much fun?
The end of the Christmas season normally brings gloom, the still dark nights no longer have the twinkle of rainbow fairy lights and cheery inflatable Santa and snowmen have gone . This year is different, we seem to have skipped over winter in the desert and gone from autumn to spring. The Palo Verde trees already have small yellow buds appearing, and the lavender is blooming; attracting a family of quails to keep the humming birds company.
The mark of the New Year is arbitrary but I feel my anxiety dissipate. It’s also accompanied by a new feeling of freedom.
Yesterday we went to the park. Oldest son and his dad went over to the field to play football. The twins and I stayed in the play area. My four year old took his mini basketball to the courts and kept trying to get a basket. I watched him from afar. He was nowhere near his target but didn’t give up. He changed tactics, and moved under the basket and attempted to throw the ball up through the hoop. He played for at least 25 minutes, happy in his activity, completely unaware and without worry of failure .
Watching him, I felt my heart would burst. From his perspective he could achieve his goal, his target was attainable. I pray that this confidence and perseverance stay with him, and feel blessed for the lesson I have been taught.
Dear Loved Ones,
I don’t always have the opportunity to tell you directly how special you are to me. Amid the Hallmark adverts and Christmas music, while I’m watching Charlie Brown cartoons or looking at the art work bought home by the kids I have moments when I’m overwhelmed with gratitude.
I forget the envy that I have for people who have their loved ones close-by and remember that mine aren’t really so far away. Every year as the kids continue to evolve from being constantly needy, to independent, funny, kind and sweet Smart Alecs; the empty hole in my core lessens.
Thank you to my mother, who shows love by her actions, and has always been here with me when I’ve needed her without me even asking .
Thank you to my sisters, who I think sometimes love my children more than I do and never fail to surprise me, good or bad, and without whom I would be lost.
Thank you to family that I don’t always get to see or speak to but are constantly with me, through their blessings and love.
Thank you to friends I don’t talk to as often as I would like, but still make me laugh out loud when I do. You remind me that I am still the same person I was before the responsibilities of adulthood.
For ages now I have wanted quiet time. Silence so that I can reflect and “think” . Great and profound thoughts would come to me through the ether if only the air was not filled with noise.
I was wrong. There is now silence, no one is bothering me and I hate it . I miss the requests to read and color. To help put on and take off dress up clothes, to adjudicate over who pushed whom, and whose turn it is on the computer.
Sitting in my local bookshop I am not anymore enlightened, maybe just more aware of what is important to me. My children are happy and healthy and now, as they move on, so do I .
It is time to collect the twins from their first day of preschool. We will have lunch and wait for Brother to get home.
Baby steps to a different chapter. Tomorrow I will welcome the peace and start planning ahead, right now I’m taking a moment to look back at how far we’ve come.
We are planning a trip back “home”. Home is where I grew up, where my family and dearest friends live, a place of familiarity and history, my story.
These are friends that I haven’t spoken to in a couple of years, but have emailed occasionally, about intentions to catch up properly. No pretense or feigned interest. It’s because of these great girls that I’ve found it hard to make really close friends when I moved over the Atlantic to the desert. 11 years on and “new” friends that I trust and truly like, I can count on one hand.
I’m coming home I email. All of a sudden a torrent of replies back and forth, setting dates and little quips, excited plans and chatter ; already I’m home.
Today looks like it’s going to be a good day. Oldest came down, showered and dressed ready for breakfast. Off to school on time, homework done and excited for the day.
Twins are sitting together ‘reading’ , “I have this little sister Lola, she is small and very funny…”
OH sent to work with a kiss and a smile.
Mornings like this make me feel that we are not doing too bad of a job.
Spring has come to the desert, flowers are blooming and there is a lushness that makes everything feel new. My sisters have come down for my son’s B’day . My baby sister (now 24), has to take daily injections in the abdomen to prevent serious blood clotting due to the 12 hour flight. I haven’t seen her in over a year; a year in which she has had severe medical complications and scares. Anyone looking at her would never be able to tell. She carries herself with such strength and dignity that it makes me ashamed of my own grumblings.
I am bossy and demanding but they shrug it off and love me anyway.
I don’t know if it is the beautiful weather, the colors of the flowers bursting open, the laughter and banter of the kids, or the lighthearted ease of being with my sisters that just makes me happy.