I have the timehop app. The one that shows you every day what you posted on this date one year ago, two years ago, etc. Depending on the date, it can be totally hilarious or sad or eye-rolling (or once in awhile, disappointingly empty).

My timehop has been especially nostalgic as of late because a year ago this month, we had just moved to Pennsylvania and were experiencing (and instagramming) all kinds of “firsts.”

It all came to a head one day recently when my timehop summary was a classic example of how you can’t predict where life will take you. How things can change so very quickly.

Three years ago on that date, I posted this blog about how I’d gotten a new job. A dream job. The sort of job I always thought would be the thing that finally propelled us back east. But since I’d found that job in Phoenix, I ruminated about the fact that it probably meant we were staying in Arizona forever.

Well, life doesn’t always (ever?) play out as you envision. Exactly two years after I published that post, I took this picture:

All of stuff arriving in PA.

All of our stuff arriving in PA.

You never really know where life will take you, do you?

Which brings me to this: Today, life is taking me home. For a few days, anyway.

The Valley of the Sun

In order to do so, I have to leave my guys behind … at home.

The Lehigh Valley dressed up for a festival

And yet, as long as we’re talking about home, there’s also this place:

Cleveland

Cleveland, yo

It’s a confusing thing to consider three places to be home. One was my childhood home, another was my coming-of-age home, and one is the place my son will always call home.

They all feel right. They’re all beautiful in their own unique way. I feel fully comfortable in all of them, like I was always meant to live there. And whenever I’m in one, I miss the other two.

It’s a good problem, really. Some people struggle all their lives to find a place that feels like home, and I have three. Nevertheless, it is sometimes jarring to feel so connected and pulled to these different places.

There is a little part of me that is nervous to go back to Phoenix. It’s easier to push aside homesickness for a place when you haven’t stepped foot onto its solid ground for a while. I know this firsthand from when we lived far from family. Every time we visited our families back east, our hearts ached for days or weeks afterward with lingering thoughts of the people and scenery we missed.

But after some time, those feelings ease. You get back to your life, back to your routine, into your groove, and pretty soon, those emotions are shoved back into the corner of the hallway closet with the dust mop. You still feel them because of course you still miss the people you love, but the homesickness is muted by everything else, the daily stuff of the life you’re leading. (And really, it has to be way, or you’d be miserable.)

What I’m saying is that I’m afraid I’m going to bring a little sadness back with me. That when it’s over and I’m dropped off at the airport in Phoenix for my flight home, I’m going to cry the way I did every.single.time I walked into the Cleveland airport on my way to catch a flight back to Phoenix.

I think I won’t. Because I’ll be flying back to my family in PA instead of flying away from family. But you can’t predict emotion, can you?

Hey, speaking of emotion. Wanna know what’s weird?

It is so much harder to leave my kid now that I’m with him all day, every day.

If you would have asked me a year or two ago how I would feel about “taking a break” and going on a four-day vacation from parenting, I would have been all sign me up!

I think it’s because when I was working, I was used to leaving Ryan. I was used to doing my own thing for 40-50 hours every single week – sometimes more if we managed to schedule a date night on the weekend. I always knew he was perfectly fine without me.

Now, the thought of missing just one of the insanely adorable things he’s been saying lately makes me catch my breath. For as hard as staying home can be, for as long as the days and weeks can seem at times, I am so used to having Ryan with me that leaving him for so long is unnerving.

I don’t want him to be confused, to think I don’t want to be with him or to worry that I’m not coming back. After all, this is the kid who misses me when I go down to the basement to put a load of laundry in the washing machine.

At the same time … mama needs a break. For all I know, Ryan does, too. It’ll be good for us in the way that sometimes the harder things in life end up being the best things for you. Breaks give you the space and time to appreciate what you often take for granted.

Besides, I get to spend time with friends I haven’t seen in a year. I get to meet two new babies that have arrived since we left. I get to take my godson and his sister to the park. I get to eat legit Mexican food from our favorite restaurant (shhhhhhhhhh, don’t tell Mike).

I think it will feel good to go back home to Arizona. And then I think it will feel just as good to come home to Pennsylvania. Even if there are a couple tears here or there.

2 Responses to Going home again.

  1. Jaclyn says:

    I love this. I love this. I LOVE THIS. Granted, my various “homes” haven’t been as geographically varied as yours, but I was born in Illinois, grew up near Cinci, colleged at Kent, back to Illinois, then to Indiana. I’m a Midwestern girl, but all those places hold VERY different spots in my heart. Any time a place exists with people you love, it’s home … But Cinci is my home. When I pull off the highway on my old streets, my heart skips a beat like I’m going to see my best friend or a boy I have a big crush on. It’s a feeling of home in my guts, versus just the knowledge of “I used to live here.”

    Hm. I might have to steal this idea for my own post. In any case, have an AMAZING time. I’m doing a girls’ weekend this weekend too (with my childhood bestie and my college bestie [Ms. Erin], who met each other at my wedding and seriously hit it off, craziness …) so I’ll be sending you very happy thoughts :)

    • Meg says:

      “It’s a feeling of home in my guts, versus just the knowledge of “I used to live here.” — YES. Well said, that’s exactly it. Please steal the idea – I can’t wait to read it!

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