This time next week I will be headed HOME! I wish I could describe the feeling/the anticipation of going home when you spend months to a year away from there and only get a week or so at a time to enjoy the company of family. It has become one of my most favorite feelings just as the sadness of leaving is one of my least favorite feelings.
I am very fortunate in that I typically get to go home about every six months. Considering it's half way across the country and a two day drive I'd say that's pretty good. When I first moved out here I went home more because I could just jump on an airplane but now with two kids we rarely fly. With kids also came the much more work and effort it takes to leave town and across the country.
Even as excited as I get about the trip home I have really come to hate the amount of work that goes into getting ready to leave. Trying to catch up the laundry, packing and packing so much more crap the kids think they need than they really do, arranging pet and/or house sitters, cleaning becauseI like to leave a clean house so I come home to a clean house, remembering to check everything on the exit list (water turned off, all doors locked, barricades for pets, heat down or AC up, house keys distributed or hidden for pet/house sitters). Then there's the dreaded knowledge of unpacking it all when we return and the piles of laundry we'll have to do. So honestly anymore I kind of hate the before and after part of traveling home.
But man I love hitting that highway. It’s like escaping and a newfound sense of freedom. All those to do list that pile up at work and in my personal planners are left behind. There is nothing that has to be done for the next 7-10 days except enjoying time with my family. I even love how we’re all crammed in the car together. We can’t all escape to our own thing (even though sometimes I end up with my nose in book for the long ride) and the conversations with the girls are usually entertaining and who doesn’t love listening to little kids jamming to music in the back.
I love the open road. Just as I find the ocean good for the soul I find something very comforting in the open road whether the scenery is the mountains or the plains of the Midwest. I find beauty in all of it. I find myself reflecting a lot on the things I’m thankful for in my life on those long drives.
You get rid of the work it takes to get ready to leave and the dread of heading back home and all the work that follows a trip I love everything else. I love the drive itself, the time crammed together in the car, I love the quality time I get to spend with dear friends I’ve had since childhood and college, I love the running into old friendly faces that have known me since I was a child, and treasure all that time together with my family because once we get there it’s like we’re all together all day every day the whole time. I know my parents and sisters look forward to these few weeks every year just as we do. It’s completely worth the work it takes to get there and the sacrifice of relaxing off time in my own home.
So home we go in just a few more days.