Here it is May and we're getting ready to plant vegetables again. We're adding a new plot this year so work will be more than doubled. It's SO exciting and completely overwhelming but I know we will rise to this new challenge and grow our homestead. But, that's not what I came on here to talk about today. I came on here to talk about home.
We've made a wonderful home here in the United States and have loved being here since we moved into this beautiful valley in 2015. We call it home and being here has given us a life we could have never had otherwise but....a part of us will always call Canada home where our family lives, where we come from.
At the beginning of April we made the long trek to Ontario Canada where most of our family resides. We have children and grandchildren in British Columbia as well. It was a bittersweet trip as we were going to say goodbye to my husband's father who passed away in November. It was time to visit the grave site and gather some things that would remind us of him, my mother-in-law and their lives and bring those things back with us. So...we drove for three days.
As we passed through Idaho, Montana and Wyoming we gazed out the windows of the car at the changing landscape and the weather. We marveled at the mountains, rocks and rivers and were reminded of all the old westerns we watched as children. Our favorite music played in the background and we talked about...well...everything.
We continued through South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin and our excitement began to climb as we neared home and our families that we hadn't seen for 3 years (me) and 4 years (my husband). We laughed as we shared stories and we sang along to all the songs we loved so much.
We drove on through Illinois and Michigan and came to the border crossing. As we passed the sign welcoming us into Canada we felt elated that we were so close to all our loved ones. Our eyes shone as much as the rain on the windshield.
We arrived in Toronto Ontario on a Friday evening in the rain and were embraced by family at last. I cannot describe to you how it feels to hold your family in a hug after so much time has passed. It is EVERYTHING! Every laugh, every look, every movement was something precious and beyond price.
For 9 days we held endless moments of joy as we etched out a small bit of time for each of the people who mean so much to us. There were grandchildren, children, brothers and sisters, my mom, friends that might as well be family and we soaked up all the laughter, the hugs, the stories, the chatter, the feelings of being home in their embrace at last.
The time slipped away from us too quickly.
We got back in the car loaded with memories that we could touch while our minds were full of memories we couldn't....and we headed back. It would be another three days of driving.
We drove through Ontario to the border and had an easy crossing back into the United States. We drove through Michigan and it was hot this time with no rain, only clear skies that lied about our feelings. I felt the irony that we arrived to a place of joy in the rain and left our love behind in the sun and blue skies. Perhaps the Universe was embracing us in its own way.
We talked about our trip and laughed about things we had done. We drove through Illinois and Wisconsin. I felt the sadness like a cloak weighing down my shoulders but it was muddled with the fresh laughter. I stared out the window as the world flashed by and distance drew taut.
We drove through Minnesota and entered South Dakota. That was about the time I felt the anger building. I was angry that we live so far away. I was angry that we have this amazing life but it comes at such a giant cost. I was angry that our trip was so short. I was angry at my life. I was angry that I couldn't take a trip to Ireland when we had vacation time instead of this long drive and whirlwind but that was the only way to see those we love. I raged that we are so inaccessible. I felt guilty that I wanted a leisurely vacation. I felt guilty that I would have liked to have had time to stop and see things along the way instead of just driving past them in a whirlwind to get back and resume work.
I WAS SAD....UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY SAD....
We left South Dakota behind and passed into Wyoming and then Montana. I began to feel eager to get home, to be in my own bed, to see my chickens, to stop feeling jet lagged by the time change. I was happy to be going home and accepting of my life.
We drove past the sign welcoming us back to Idaho and I sighed in relief and sadness in a perfect storm. I knew that it would likely be years before we made it back home again to Canada but I was finally able to be at peace with it and thankful to have technology, mail and photos to keep in touch.
We drove into the driveway. Everything was as we had left it. The chicks were a lot bigger. The two young people we had hired to look after things while we were gone had done a phenomenal job and we were thankful for great neighbours that are almost like family.
We unpacked the car and put the memories into our home and the gifts our family had sent with us as well. It was bittersweet but we are strong and this is more than a good life that we have found in this little valley. This too is home.