We make plans. And then life happens. Isn’t that the way of it? When my daughter was first born, it worked out that my mom could come up and spend about a month with us. How amazing is that? It really was a blessing, and even more so because my dad had been through a couple of strokes and wasn’t as independent as he used to be. We made plans during that time, that she’d come and spend time with us each year around my daughter’s birthday.
The first year, we got a pass on that because my family and I wound up moving out near my parents. But that’s a whole ‘nother post (perhaps another book) in and of itself. It was a time of struggle (too expensive, too hot, too many things stacked against us), and in the end, clarity (this wasn’t where we were supposed to be – not where we wanted to call home), but I’m thankful that it meant time for my parents to have with my child.
So we started again when she was two – again with the plan that my mom would come for her birthday month. It worked at two, and then again at three. And then my dad had another stroke, this one more devastating than the ones before, and then that was the end of the birthday visits.
I made the decision to move away from home long before I met my husband, long before my child was even a possibility. Before there was even an us. I needed to be away to establish my identity and competency away from everything that I had grown up with, and the Pacific Northwest has truly become home for me. But oh, there are times when I wish there was a trans-Pacific highway and a way to get back home that doesn’t require a flight plan.
This picture is from my mom’s last visit when my daughter was three. We were having breakfast at a favorite spot – the Hob Nob (best biscuits and gravy in town) before popping over to the park. Thankfully, we’ve seen them since then, but only a couple of times.
It’s been four years since I was home with my family. Four years since my mom and dad have seen their first grandchild face to face; four years since I’ve held my dad’s hand or looked into my mother's eyes. Four years since I’ve punched my little brother in the arm and given him a hug. Never mind the niece I haven’t even met yet. She can say my name, and I’m pretty sure she can show you what a picture of me looks like. But it’s not the same.
This Christmas, we’re flying back.
I can’t believe it. I can’t even think about it. I’m just like that. It won’t be real for me until I’ve stepped off the plane in Honolulu and taken and deep breath of the air out there and realized once again how much I’m going to need to re-acclimate for the days that I’m there. But it will be a precious time to once again be with my family – the people I love. To have tea, celebrate Christmas, and hold each other close.
I’m hanging on.
I'm linking up with Crystal Stine and company for the first time today; joining the Behind the Scenes link up. A place to make a connection beyond the Pinterest perfect ideals; to look past the edges of the photo to the real life behind it; to say hi, this is me in all my messy real-ness. Sounds like a good time to me.