The house is quiet, and for the first time in a week, I can hear myself think. My boys, once again, are attached to my legs and chanting “mama mama” instead of “Lolo and Lola.” The boys are missing a house full of “new” toys curated by lola; it’s too bad they have to settle for our “old” toys.
We spent almost a week with my family in Va. Beach for Thanksgiving. And unfortunately for almost everyone, it was a rough return—emotionally, anyway. A teary six year old who took it upon himself to hide when it was time to load the car, a cranky and sick toddler and equally exhausted parents made for another long trek back up the Turnpike.
Aside from the trip down and the return trip though, it was smooth sailing. Afterall, when you’re with family, everything seems better. (for us, at least.)
The trip down, though uneventful, was long and arduous. A strong weather system made for a cold and wet almost 9 hour trip that usually takes about 7. The kids cooperated, but unfortunately, the traffic and wet weather were not in our favor. Considering that we left a day early to beat the really bad weather, I think we fared ok, despite the long trip. We got some good tunes out of the situation.
Jeff worked remotely for almost the entire trip, so, we didn’t see him as much. We did, however, see a lot of my parents and brothers, which is rare because of their work schedules. Dad wrestled, played and entertained the boys, while mom cooked us incredible spreads of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
We spent a lot of time with my family, which is just what we all needed. Jack missed hanging with cousin G since he, too, had to visit his maternal grandparents. But once they reunited, it was like he never left.
We ate a lot; I indulged way more than I should have, of course. I’ll always associate good times with my family with plenty of fantastic food. We saw the other side of the family, too, which is always nice.
Whenever we come home to NJ, and I have time to sit and think while I’m all sad and missing home, Jack’s tearful episodes and heartfelt confessions about leaving Virginia echo in my head. He quietly apologized to Jeff for his outrageous tantrum and hide and seek game when it was time to leave. He confessed: “I just cry so hard because I love Ma and Lolo so much.”
Right through the heart, ya’ll.
I get teary-eyed and realize that all of <this> wasn’t in my 10 year plan when I left home in 2001.
I was 24 and was done with being “home.” I knew I wanted to chase my dream of climbing the magazine editorial masthead somewhere—anywhere—in NYC. My 24 year old self, however, never planned for having a family this far away from home.
When I was 24, I never took into consideration that I’d have to factor in my spouse’s career and children’s healthcare and schooling into MY 10-year plan. It was all about me at 24.
These are the things you don’t read about in the women’s magazines. They tell you to aim high. I’d don’t ever remember reading anything on the topic of grappling with professional and personal turning points, and that sometimes, you’re going to do what’s best for the greater good. Yeah, that.
So, here we are, back “home” in New Jersey. It’s a place where my children call home, but I often feel like I’m still visiting. I recently told someone in a meeting that we went “home” to Va, and in response they said, “Oh, so you don’t live here?”
I love my purpose here in NJ. I’m afforded so many opportunities, and life is fulfilling, to say the least. NYC and NJ are very much ingrained into my being, but will we stay here long enough for my children to feel the same?
We receive the BEST medical care and therapy for Josh. The BEST. While education, in general, is quite trivial, Jack attends a lovely school where he can excel, even when he’s been doled a lot of major stuff at home. We live in an amazing community where we consider so many people like family, rather than just friends—it’s truly an idyllic scenario. If there was anywhere I could choose to raise my kids other than “back home” in Va. Beach, I’d choose this community again in heartbeat. This is where we were meant to be—for now, anyway. I wonder if I’d feel the same, had I never left home to pursue my career. My guess? Probably not.
As an aside, I’ll be here counting down the days until we leave for Va. Beach again. (It’s 18 in case you’re wondering.)