My husband and I recently returned home from a visit with our sons’ family in New Jersey. The old adage that states “there’s no place like home,” albeit, fairly true; had somewhat escaped me this time as I have felt a little hollow on these days following our return.
The challenges of our lives have weighed heavily upon us over the past decade. This quality time spent with our family allowed us to focus on our blessings in life. For that brief period, we were able to detach from the battles at home and become a part of our sons’ life. We became alive with the responsibilities of three young boys in order to give mom and dad a break.
Our mornings would begin with the baby, who is six months old, whimpering in his bed that he was ready to start his day. I slept in the room with him, and due to his teething, had several encounters with him on almost a nightly basis. Every morning his smile would wipe away any weariness from the night before.
My husband and I were like a well-oiled machine, ensuring that each child’s daily backpack was ready for the individual adventures at school. Even the baby had his daily routine of going to a wonderful child-care center located close to their home. I would make sure that their lunches were packed and ready for the day. As I would feed the baby, my husband would feed the two older boys (three and six) and ensure that they were dressed and ready in time to head off in different directions, ensuring that each one arrived at their proper destinations on time.
When we first arrived, we were not aware that the baby would be gone during the day as well; therefore, perplexing us as to what we were supposed to do with the eight, long hours before we would be with the boys again. Our son and daughter-in-law were on a cruise celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary and therefore, it was my husband and me, with time to spend together.
We watched shows, went out to eat a couple of times and enjoyed each other’s company; communicating without the normal interruptions of life that occur in our home. We started a journey to quit smoking while we were in a non-smoking environment; and although we have yet to throw them down completely, we are down to five cigarettes a day. We have three more cigarettes (each) and I haven’t bought another pack. I have quit before; however, I did it by throwing them down completely. I am not a fan of “weening” down; however, my husband was not comfortable with the idea of quitting cold turkey. We both feel that we are breathing better, and to be honest, I could have paid for an island by now when you consider I, alone, have been smoking for close to forty years.
We would begin to start the second part of our day around four in the afternoon; grandpa running down to the bus stop to pick up the boys and grandma heading down the street to the childcare center to pick up her “chunky monkey.” We would converge on the house within minutes of each other; back packs being collected, shoes getting kicked off, homework being checked out, and starting dinner so that they could eat by five.
Once the whirlwind calmed down and dinner was eaten, the boys were given time to play before going upstairs to get ready for bed. I would change the baby and have some “tummy time” with him; the memories of his loving smile still warming my heart.
Friday night was movie night; celebrated with popcorn and the works; creating happy, tired, little boys who were absolutely thrilled that they were able to stay up for an extra hour, past their normal bedtimes. They would crawl into bed, almost asleep before their heads hit their pillows.
It’s always bittersweet when it comes time to return home. Each time is hard. This time, however, as bittersweet as it is, I feel refreshed and I believe my husband does to. We are still somewhat within a war at home; a battle we have fought for many years; however, this time we are coming back with a refreshed spirit. Sometimes we need to connect with those feelings and loved ones that add value to our lives. Sometimes we need to be washed with the recognition that life is not about fighting every war or worrying about what others’ think of your situation. Sometimes life is just about experiencing life.
As I sit here in my home, reflecting on the past couple of weeks, I feel like I am ready to move forward. Smoking will be a thing of the past within a day or two. This is a journey that is definitely better with a partner. My heart is lifted as I reflect on the blessings in my life. Leaving home was wonderful; however, being home allows me to understand how we see our blessings; many times not realizing their importance until we are separated from them.
I will lovingly put the pictures of our boys in the frames that I have been accumulating; hanging them in special places so that I can see their smiling faces each and every day. I will always be mindful of my blessings and understand that those pictures on our walls, and the feelings I have for those loved ones, truly does bring meaning to the words, “there’s no place like home.”