“I’m so happy to have you back,” my husband said to me this morning as I placed an egg and toast in front of him.
“Because now you have someone to make your breakfast and pack your lunch?” I joked.
“No, because I miss you so much when you’re away,” he said.
I just returned from a visit with my daughter and her family in Michigan. In a good year, if I’m lucky, I get to see them four times, once in the spring, once in the summer, once in early fall, and at Thanksgiving. It is not nearly enough, but distance, time, and money dictate it. Before my visit my daughter and I had made grandiose plans to do a lot of writing together. I brought my iPad with intentions to make a blog post every day that I was there. That didn’t happen for either of us. All we wanted to do was talk and “hang out” with each other, savoring the sweetness of our time together.
We ran errands in preparation for my oldest granddaughter’s birthday party, shopped and ate lunch out, she tutored me on the best make-up to buy and I gave her my opinion on clothes she tried on, and we worked one whole day on piecing a quilt together (a project for my youngest granddaughter’s class). Before we knew it, the week we had been looking forward to since Thanksgiving was over, and we were unloading my suitcase on the curb next to the Delta terminal. We are becoming adept at not making a spectacle of ourselves when we say goodbye. “No tears, Mom,” my daughter said as she hugged me one last time, her eyes glistening to match my own. It will be four long months before we see each other again.
Tomorrow my husband and I will drive up the East Coast, stop in Connecticut for a night to see his mother, and then continue up to Boston for Easter to see our two sons and our daughter-in-law. We will have two and a half days with them, then turn around and make the long drive back to Virginia. During those two days we will talk non-stop, eat gourmet meals, share communion at the altar rail Easter morning, and say our good-byes with stoic faces but a catch in our voices. This has been our life since our children grew up and shaped lives of their own. It is the life for so many families, now that jobs take us far from each other.
My heart gets tugged in so many direction these days. I want to spend longer than a week with my daughter and granddaughters, longer than two days at a time with my sons and daughter-in-law. I want more time with my two best girlfriends who live far away. But I also don’t want to leave my husband too often or for very long. It seems the older we get, the more anxious we are when we’re apart. So, tomorrow we hit the road again and enjoy every minute we have to share with our children. When we come home, we will get back into our routine, smiling at the memories, sighing with longing for more, and look forward to our next visits.