Yesterday was hard on my boys. The day my parents leave my home is always a tough day. Usually they leave on Mondays, and my best friend comes over to help the . . . well, I guess. . . grieving process. They are experiencing a loss no matter if they’ll see their grandparents in three weeks or two months. My parents just fill the house when they are here.
My husband and I live eight hours from our families. Eight hours in different directions. Since we live in Southern California, all our friends are scattered throughout three counties. The nearest friend we have lives fifteen minutes away. (Imagine that comforting thought when I went into labor with Sean.) I have not yet managed to make a friend with kids around my kids ages, so it does get a little lonely here. I’m actually starting to worry about Evan’s social interaction.
My husband didn’t grow up with extended family, but I did. I went to my grandparents’ house every weekend. I saw most of my cousins at least once a month or so. I felt surrounded by family, and when we visit, my boys are surrounded by family. My brother and girlfriend come over to my parents’ house; while, my other brother lives there and is tortuously awoken by Evan pounding on his door at 7am. It’s actually pretty funny.
When we visit them or better yet, when they visit my house, my parents spend most of their time playing with my boys. My dad wrestling, sword fighting, tickling, hiding, seeking, and fixing toys, as my mom does the same stuff only she also reads stories and tries to teach Evan to write. When my parents are at my house, the mornings are spent doing something, even if it is running errands, which I think my dad prefers as he races around stores with the boys in the shopping cart. Then as if the entertaining of the boys isn’t enough, they help pitch in with my chores, insisting on helping me clean. Sometimes it gets a little embarrassing with all their help.
Yesterday my parents took care of the sheets, the garbage, and the dishwasher before they left. They played with the boys. My parents took the last pictures of the boys. And my mom hugged me tight, whispering to come home soon. So as they pulled away in their car, my boys and I waved and shouted good bye, turning to find the house quieter and emptier then before.
If you had asked me in college if I would go back to Arizona, I would just shrug and said probably not. But now that I have children I feel pulled towards the desert. Like the song “Sail Away to America,” something calls me back. I appreciate the browns and stark greens of the desert because it’s honest, unlike the false green covering the desert that is Southern California. I miss the heat and the seasons, pre-summer, summer, post-summer, and winter. Here it seems always the same. I miss my family, a support that has to be there for me because I’m blood and because they love me and want to help me and my family. I want to be somewhere where my home isn’t empty when people leave, but just full waiting for more.