I have the joy of being a grandmother to four and seven grandchildren, four of which live in my city. I miss my two that are farthest away in Georgia the most for justifiable reasons. Two of the four in town are near us, and it is privilege to get to see them regularly. Our contact with the other two in town is limited, by distance and schedule. The remaining five grand kids live two hundred miles north and unless we are the ones driving up to see them, we see them only occasionally.
Having just returned from a ten day journey in Michigan, following the unexpected death of my mother in June, we skidded back into town late one evening with barely time to breathe. The following morning, I was needed to care for Liam and Callie since it was an all day teaching planning day for their parents. The timing was not great, but the fact that I had returned and was available proved to be helpful all around.
Is there any easy way to acclimate to life after a trip? If there is, would someone tell me what that is? I rarely take a vacation that is punctuated by long periods of rest and relaxation. There are far too many places to see and people to spend time with. And that energizes me. But returning is a big stretch to touch back down, unpack, reboot, and feel the former rhythm of life.
For starters, we were three hours later than Michigan time and our bodies knew it. I thought we were returning by 5 p.m. Arizona time. But I was wrong: it was almost 8 p.m. and the sun was crowning on the horizon. We had a long drive home to Tucson from the airport in Phoenix. Already having endured standing for our delayed (layover) flight in a crowded, raucous Minneapolis airport, this drive home felt like navigating a busy, endless river in a sea of darkness. The option of spending the night in Phoenix was out of reach, since grandchildren were arriving the next morning. So we plodded forward, in order to embrace what our destination held for us.
The joy of re-entering your abode and finding things in order and at peace is wonderful! The joy of seeing the faces of your loved ones makes the effort even more fulfilling. Grand parenting is delightful. Though my body dragged along, I pushed through the day. To make things have more depth and pleasure, we planned a schedule together. There was computer time for both children. Time outdoors if they wanted it, and the errand to the post office to pick up mail and grocery store to buy lunch items and treats was engaging. Snack time. There was story time with three great Bible truths to ponder, my favorite part of the day. Creativity time next, making and using play dough or creating a greeting card. Then, lunchtime. Rest/quiet time for independent reading felt glorious! Then, the neighborhood swimming pool and to end the day, cartoons. All good stuff. The only discipline required was to put a kibosh on some back seat squabbling while on errands.
Ah yes, “Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jog.” Love that saying. Returning home might not be easy, but it certainly has its rewards.
No grandchildren to care for? No matter, find a way to demonstrate care to someone who would enjoy a little of your company. No trip to enjoy? Travel vicariously with a video or a book about your geographical dream spot.
Going somewhere special is a privilege and treat all to itself, but coming home is even better. I liken this to earth and heaven. As my grief storm for Mother calms little by little, I see something. The things in this life can be special and full of delight, and enjoying them is good. But it is in coming home that we have the greatest comfort.
May the Lord give us joy in this knowledge. Ecclesiastes 12: 5-7 says: “…man goes to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets. Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed…or the pitcher shattered at the fountain. The dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God Who gave it.”
It was soothing to see the home and cottage in Michigan that my parents built, with friends. Now I am even more comforted that Mom has returned home to God, her eternal dwelling place.