It’s morning, and I’m peering out from messy hair and cotton pajamas, animatedly insisting some political point, getting crumbs on the newspaper, when I realize I’m having trouble expressing what I’m thinking. I scoot closer to the solid oak table, my Mom picks ups her coffee cup, and I try to explain again what it’s like to come home after moving out of state.
“It’s amazing to me how everything is the same here! The same fields, the same houses, the same people, the same problems. Life goes on, and it goes on without me.”
“And at the same time, I have this whole other life. Indiana.”
“Yet. At the same time, everything is different here! My friends have moved away. The children are grown. There are tons of new people. Even our house is different because my bedroom is empty. Everything is different.”
As disorienting as these things can be, coming home for the summer is deeply gratifying. I’m learning that returning home means I will be tired for about a week. It’s like my whole body relaxes because I can finally fully be myself again. I fall into the rhythm of being part of a family. I can yell and be yelled at. I can be hugged. I can be painfully honest. My family can be painfully honest with me. I understand them. They understand me. They get me.
Being part of a family again means noticing how my parents have aged. It means sitting quietly by Papa in a Sunday night service and having him quietly ask me afterward, “So what are you thinking?” It means reading the newspaper with Mom nearly every morning and discussing our favorite stories. It means staying up late reading and Papa interrupting to tell me all about the great new thing he learned from the book of Matthew. It’s my married sister popping in at every possible waking hour to be with her little sister. It means relishing animated news updates with the mother and the sister about absolutely all the new Plain City things. (Guess. Who. Is. Engaged. Did you know they moved the cell phone tower? …And, I mean, I wish I could tell you which old lady has a crush on Jack Hanna, the local zookeeper, but I was sworn to secrecy.) It’s my mom hinting that she wants her canning room cleaned. And finishing it in 2.5 hours with my sister. (Cringe: we found apple butter from 2005.)
Things I’ve done so far:
1) Sun-popped Corn Ice Cream and Black Current Frozen Yogurt by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. It was the buttery-est popcorn ice cream I’ve ever had. It’s also the *only* popcorn-flavored ice cream I’ve ever had. But still.
2) Bleh, gone car shopping to no avail…. Bleh!
3) had Sunday dinner with some of my favorite people from church. Tried not to cry when 200 people swelled in 4 part harmony to old familiar hymns…
4) behold, haveth sewn an stripe-ed shower curtain for the holy halls of far yon’ Nappanee bathroom, wherewith I shall be-deck mine hardy shower with said fair-colored tapestry, er, sheet.
6) went thrifting for my sister who ALWAYS complains that I find these really great bargains at thrift stores but that’s only because I have a lot of patience for picking through every single shirt on the rack in order to find one great one, you really have to be patient, and she basically just wanted me to do the searching for her, and I did, and we found her some really great stuff and it doesn’t hurt that I found a J Crew top and two Alfani skirts, but is anyone counting?
7) ran 3 miles JUST IN CASE I decide to run a marathon in the fall because I turned 26 on the 26th this year and why wouldn’t I run a 26 mile race this year, because, I mean like, seriously, HELLO?
So now that you are at the end of this post. Maybe you are thinking along the lines of one cousin commenter: “Nobody cares.”
Well. I’m on vacation. And this is what I posted.
And tomorrow we’re buying FORTY POUNDS OF SUGAR to make strawberry jam. So there’s that.