I think one of the greatest ways to learn to appreciate where God has put you is to leave. We recently took a one week vacation back to our old stomping grounds. For me, it was to be no big deal, I had already been back a couple of times and had poured salt into that still raw wound. For Tom, it was to be a different experience, he hadn't been back to our old house since we left. For the kids, it was to be revisiting of their roots. The moment we pulled off I-90 at the Clague Road exit headed to Bay Village, I felt like we were returning home from a long trip. But wait a minute, this wasn't home anymore and we weren't returning, we had just started our journey. How surreal. As I looked at my kids and then at my husband, I couldn't help reaching for his hand and holding it tight. For this is how we had left that fateful night almost 11 months ago. Grasping our hands together as if to draw on each other's strength. And that is how we would return to this place that we had called home for 10 years. I didn't expect all those emotions to still be there. I had done this before and it shouldn't hurt as much as it did. But what I hadn't done before is to return like this, in our van, with the kids and more importantly, with my husband at the wheel and all of us together as a unit, as our family unit. I can't begin to explain just how weird that whole experience was. But just as quickly as it came, it left just as fast. Before I knew it, we were at our J.J.'s house, just down the street from our old house. And it was like we never left.
During the week we spent there, we had a few more experiences like that, not as severe and emotional but just surreal and weird. We both couldn't help thinking that this is what our summers entailed - sitting at the pool, watching baseball games at the field near the lake, just watching the lake, watching the kids play on our street with their J.J. - this was our life and it was very hard to swallow the fact that that life just didn't exist anymore. But as we settled into our vacation and the familiarity of the area, a strange new emotion began to creep up in both of us. To my shock, at some point, I was ready to come home. Yes, I said it, home. And when I say home, I mean this state that I now reside in. I didn't want to come home because we were having an awful time, or because the weather was bad, or because I was tired of being in a hotel room with the kids, or because all of us hadn't been in bed before 11p.m. on any given nite - as a matter of fact, I was having a great time and enjoying every minute of being there. But I wanted my house, my bed, my pillow, my kitchen, my space - I just wanted to come home. Believe me when I say, I am just as shocked as you are that I might have actually gotten to the point that I can call this mixed up state home.
Happy Fourth of July Kids
Gabi finally got to go to Bay Days
The girls and their J.J.
Playing chess with Pop Pop
J.J. and company
Being crazy with mommy at Huntington Beach on Lake Erie
Gabi and Pop Pop on the ferry from Kelley's Island
Kids on ferry to Kelley's Island