I have been feeling extremely homesick for the past couple of weeks. When Friday evening came around, Chuck came home from work and we talked about the weekend's to-do list. I'm pretty sure there wasn't a single fun thing on this list which included yard work, touching up some ceiling paint, and cleaning out the garage. While he went outside to get the first thing, mowing the lawn, crossed off of the list, my mom called to tell me that they had decided to barbecue on Saturday. She said she knew it was last-minute but she thought she might ask in case we could come. My sister and her family were going to be there too. As much as I wanted to go, I was pretty sure we couldn't do it. After all, there was so much to do around here, not to mention that Chuck has been playing guitar at our church on Sundays. I felt terrible asking, but he immediately said he wanted to go. He knew how much I'd been missing home, so he called to make sure he wouldn't be missed too much on Sunday. We packed an overnight bag and left on Saturday morning.
Sometimes I really crave the country. It takes us a little more than 3 hours to get to the house where I lived from age 11 until age 18, and where my family still lives today. I don't miss the house -- actually we always try to convince them to move to another house. The one they live in gives them far more trouble than it's worth. What I miss most is just the whole feeling of being home. Once we get off of the interstate and cross the state line into Louisiana, I begin to feel myself relax. I welcome the sight of the pine trees, wildflowers growing along the road, and road signs designating the parish lines. I don't even mind that once we enter Louisiana the speed limit changes to 55 mph. It's okay with me that we can slow down a little bit for a few days.
And I think that's part of it. I like a slower pace. Certainly there are pine trees and wildflowers where I live in Texas. I like where we live, but sometimes I simply long for what is familiar. I can let my guard down at home when I'm among my family. I don't have to pretend like everything is okay, or put on a brave face. I can just "be."
We spent Saturday enjoying hot dogs, pork chops, and delicious hamburgers from Mom's kitchen and my step dad's grill. We sat around the table and played a board game that lasted for several hours. We laughed, ate, played, relaxed, and ate again. I snuggled with my nephews and colored pictures with them, and I marveled at how much they'd grown in the past few months -- Nephew A had lost his first tooth since we last saw him! It was hard to leave everyone the next day after such a short visit, but driving 6 hours (round trip) in two days was worth it. It helped me feel connected again. The fact is that I've been in a constant state of sadness for weeks now... or is it months? If I were being honest I would admit that it's more like years.
These moments away, where I can relax in the welcoming arms of my family no matter how briefly, are just what I need to push through sometimes. This weekend the only cure for my homesickness was going home.