My husband, Brian and I have been gone from home for nineteen days – Rome, Tuscany, Venice and London. It was a stunning romp through lovely European cities and towns. We did not bring along the five children (ages 14 to 23) who still reside in our house (not to mention the four dogs, four cats, bird and goldfish), but the kids worked together to handle daily life in a more-than-adequate manner. We arrived home last night to a clean house and all children and animals safely accounted for, though the youngest dog did eat a box of something off the neighbor’s front porch yesterday, so there may be intestinal repercussions there – we’ll see. Children and dogs alike were happy to see us. We were greeted with hugs, smiles, wagging tails and licks (the latter two from the dogs, not the kids).
As much as it’s wonderful to travel, it is also wonderful to come home. I couldn’t wait to slide into my own bed last night. The sheets felt cool and crisp. The mattress was just right and my pillow felt heavenly. I got back up after a few minutes to let the big dogs into our room and, when I slid back into bed, I felt the comfort all over again. I thought about getting up again just for the pleasure of crawling back into my very own bed. Then, this morning, as I’ve wandered around the house in the predawn hours, starting laundry and sorting mail, I’ve noticed a few things that tell me I’ve been gone: the dead flowers on the counter that haven’t been removed; the plant that sits in the kitchen window that has been watered, but not pruned; the towels in the powder room bath that haven’t been changed out; and the candle stick that was almost ready to fall off the little shelf it sits on (the nearby door closing causes the candle stick to move ever so slightly and I normally push it back into place every morning).
So, children and animals accounted for, house still standing and in good condition, but there are hints that I haven’t been here. I felt the void of my absence this morning and it’s comforting to feel myself living here again.