Although I love my life here in the "big city," the thirteen acres complete with woods, a pond, and all sorts of animals running amuck (including, but not limited to, mole crickets and gray runners!) will always be the place I consider home.
Home hasn't been the same since my Dad's death two years ago, and each trip back since then has brought with it an onset of anxiety and overwhelming emotions. Although, sometimes, I can forget that he's not around while I am here; there, his stamp is everywhere. From the house he designed and built himself from the ground up, to the old orange tractor and hurricane ravaged shop in need of demolition, everywhere I look, I am reminded that he is no longer with us. And, I miss him terribly!
But the kids miss our trips to Nani and Paw's place, so they convinced me to take our first summer road trip to the place we used to travel the most: home.
Although the days leading up to the trip brought the same dread and emotional turmoil, once we arrived, things were different. My brother and his family recently moved in with my mom to help her take care of herself and the place, and their presence there brought with it some much needed joy! They have been working hard cleaning up the place and restoring some of it's coolest features (like the gazebo out front complete with a fish pond and a fountain...the very place where it just so happens many a prom picture was staged!).
The kids disappeared into the pool, the land, and the enjoyment of cousins! They would be gone for so long, I almost forgot I had children. Until, of course, they got hungry!
While the kids giggled and burned off more energy than I will probably expend in my lifetime, the adults rolled up our sleeves and began cleaning out the inside of the house, where thirty years of collecting stuff had become suffocating.
In three days, we managed to haul off several trailer loads of crap, and restore some much needed order to the place. I was even able to break down and finally start going through some of my dad's things, letting go of the things that could never really bring him back, and keeping the things that held pleasant memories of who he was.
Though we were putting in long, hard hours, we had such a great time reminiscing! For the first time in two years, it felt good to be home.
As with all good things, the time seemed to fly by, and before we knew it, it was time to leave.
Yesterday, the kids and I (with a couple of stow-aways we picked up on the way back) returned to life in the real world. We can't wait to make the most of the summer; and hopefully, we can squeeze in a couple of more trips home!