Ok, so my daughter has only been gone since Thursday! But I am so excited to see her today. I miss her and that is a preview for what is to come in a few very short years. I realize that today, the anticipation I feel, the longing, the love will become the norm, not the exception. She will be gone from my everyday life, and I will spend my time anticipating, waiting, and getting excited to see her...and I know the absences will be a lot longer than four days.
But while coming home is never the same after you leave the first time, coming home is something that I can always provide. An effort and ability to make my home a place that she will want to return to again and again and again.
Her brother left home much sooner than I had planned. And it is unclear whether he will round out adolescence from afar or here at home. Regardless his trajectory has made this concept of homecoming more poignant. We are doing this sooner and more dramatically with him. Regardless, I want him to know and feel that he is always welcome to come home.
My idea is that my children will launch and homecomings will always be happy visits of varying durations but always with the idea that they will have their own lives that will require them to get back to. But I know that in my own history, sometimes homecoming means actually returning to live and reside with your parents which was never part of my plan and was quickly moved through. Today’s kids stay at home longer and are less quick to leave. I’m not sure this is better, but it is what it is.
I don’t know what the future holds for either of my children, but I do know that I want to always have a home that they are happy to return to and that the concept of homecoming is one that brings them thoughts of comfort and joy and peace. I cannot control much in this world, but I can ensure that I always have a soft place for them to land however briefly their stay might be.
I am thinking about this a lot lately in that my children are growing up and away from me. Yet I live only a mile from my own parents. A mile of distance which is both comforting and enough. We are still in each other’s daily lives. Which I think speaks volumes of our relationship and love of each other. They wanting to be close to me and me wanting them to be close to me. My children growing up with grandparents ever present in their lives. This is a concept of family that I did not grow up with but feel like I got right with my own kids.
Homecomings are beautiful even on Monday morning treks through LA traffic. I would pretty much drive anywhere to pick her up...even LA rush hour doesn’t stifle my excitement in her return. And with each year passing, I know how lucky I am to have her here with me at all. And that all too soon, I will come home every day to an empty house, the human inhabitants moving onto other things in new locations, growing up and away. So today, this homecoming will be enjoyed, soaked up and loved because I know that all too soon my time with my children will be all too brief and only occur at intervals far less often.
Today, I hope that when she returns that she walks through the door comforted and relieved to be back in her house, her life and with me. I pray that homecoming is always a happy thought and a targeted activity. I pray that home is always a place that creates a fondness in her heart and mind no matter where that home may be...