Home Again

January 5, 2008

We are back home after spending nearly two weeks in Louisiana. I think one of the best things about traveling is returning home. Walking into a house with familiar smells (except for those bad trips when we forgot to clean out the refrigerator before leaving), sleeping in your own bed again, back on your own time schedule, etc. I can tell the kids are always happy to be back home because they are thrilled to discover their toys and spend the next few days rummaging through the house taking inventory. I first noticed this phenomena when Noah was little and he was so excited to get home after a trip he would literally run through the house with excitement to see his belongings. Jumping up and down as if he had won the lottery. So surprised because he seemed sure that he would never see them again. And that still continues. That old saying about absence makes the heart grows fonder apparently applies to matchbox cars, blocks, baby dolls, and even junky McDonald's toys.

We had a good trip. Packed with visiting friends and family. Lots of holiday celebrations. Lots of good food. Lots of presents. And as with most of my trips back home I felt pulled in many directions. Wanting to see and do way more things than possible in such a short amount of time. But overall a good trip. Especially good to see my kids with their grandparents, laughing with their cousins, running in the fields with the dogs, playing with some of my favorite childhood toys. Good to see them so happy and free. Doing so many of the same things I used to love doing. The time flew by too quickly and before we knew it was time to load up again for our return trip. That was a big part of our two weeks. Lots of time in the car.

We are still working on the art of family car travel. I think we have almost perfected family air travel. We are pretty good at packing light. We have a good stash of items for in-air entertainment. We know what to expect (delays, lines, and eye rolling from other passengers traveling without kids). But long car trips are still fairly new to us (living on an island for our first three years of parenting didn't provide much opportunity for practice). My problem is overpacking. I get so excited thinking about all of the space we have in our van that I start justifying the need for more stuff....we might need extra jackets or more toys/books for the ride or that craft project I started four years ago,etc. And by the time we hit the road the van is packed to the gills. I tried to convince myself (and Adam) that we would surely return with less stuff since we were bringing holiday gifts, but somehow we came home with more stuff (which is still packed in the car since neither of us wants to deal with the dreaded task of unpacking).

A few things helped us survive the long drives. We broke the trips up by stopping to visit friends. Always nice to see familiar faces and gave us all something to look forward to after spending five hours stuck in a car. We also loaded the car with music (we enjoyed listening to Elizabeth Mitchell for the first time), This American Life episodes (especially enjoyed this one, books on cd (Shel Silverstein and Garrison Keillor...both have amazing words, memorable voices and both were favorites on the drive), and when really desperate we pulled down the screen for a mid-drive movie (do kids know how good they have it these days? if not, parents certainly appreciate the modern invention of in-car dvd players!). And the other important car trip tool...a bright yellow soccer ball which got kicked around during several stops.

So instead of dealing with the large pile of mail, the unpacking, the laundry, I am finishing up this post and heading to bed. Our own bed. My favorite pillow. My little "nest" next to the bed of books and magazines. A favorite family photo on the bedside table. Home again and it feels good.
Ben, Ericka, Julian, Molly and Chloe said...

lucia! happy you guys are back. our company leaves tuesday, i will call you to catch up then.

Corinne said...

I love coming home again too. Isn't it interesting - I've got long distance car travel DOWN (all those yearly 13 hour drives to Chicago!) but air travel terrifies me. The last time I flew with my children, my 7 1/2 year old was 3 :)

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