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We’ve been home from the West Coast tour for a week and a half now, and I’m just catching my breath. D ended up driving home, and the girls and I flew stand-by thanks to the help of my dear friend Bonnie and her husband. We had such an amazing trip, but we were ready, after three and a half weeks, to be home.

On the trip as we made our way up the Pacific Coast highway, we stopped often to stretch our legs and let the girls run around on the beach, and it was interesting because every time we stopped, they constructed a different kind of “home” on the beach. Once it was in a shallow sandy gully. They created shelves and sleeping areas and a door to keep out the sharks. Another time it was a house of driftwood, stacked high to protect them from monsters. (I don’t know where all the menacing creatures come from, but they often feature in the girls’ play.)

D and I were struck by the fact that the longer we were on the road, the more houses the girls constructed. They missed home, so tried to create a version of home wherever we stopped.

D and I missed home, too. We loved Berkeley with all of its secret staircases leading to boulder-strewn parks. We loved Point Reyes and it’s wind-blown fields, its high cliffs, the gray whales surfacing for air just below us. We loved the Redwoods in all their magnificence, and the dry heat of Portland and Seattle. We were grateful for the luxury of time with friends and family that we don’t see often enough. But we missed out sweet dog, the comfort of our own beds, our families here. We missed the green of the trees along the Mississippi, our backyard, which is positively gigantic in comparison to West Coast yards. I missed running in the morning with my friends.

That is one of the things that I love about traveling—how I appreciate home in a new way after I’ve been gone.

Now, the girls are back in school. I am gearing up for my September online Motherhood & Words class. (I actually have a couple of open spots if anyone is interested…) I also hit the ground running at work only to find out yesterday that I will be either laid off or reduced to half-time.

I woke early this morning fretting about childcare and bills, but now that I’m once again sitting here in my tiny office, my laptop open in front of me, I am breathing more easily. I am home writing again, and it feels right. We’ll figure out the finances as we always do, so for now I’m going to try to stay focused on the positives: more writing time, more time with my girls, mid-morning runs with the dog, more time at home. Does that sound perfect?

8 Comments

  1. You’re sounding like a mom of conversant and older children and finding time to enjoy each other. School sometimes gets to be second in importance when the vitality of being in each other’s heads is equally (or more) important….teaching them …discovering your intimate physical and psychological selves and just loving them at home where it’s always a safe and grounding place.
    When they were toddlers we had to trail after and corral and catch them. Next we have a brief time to express the sacred lessons of Motherhood to listening ears. Precious !
    Thankfully, this girly relationship can last a lifetime. Blessed it is to be a mom.

    I love to follow your writing, Kate. Thank you for taking the time for it, too.

    Fondly, Fern Green Baldwin

    • I love that way of looking at these years of motherhood, Fern. I AM really looking forward to having more time with my girls at home. Stella was SO excited when she realized that my cut in hours would mean I could pick hr up at the bus stop again. Her excitement made me so happy!

      Thank you for taking time to post a comment. I always love to her from you!

      Warmly,
      Kate

  2. what a crazy summer you had, but what fun! And so many memories! Glad you’ll have more writing and running time, and I’m sure all will turn out just fine. Just believe it will. be well….

    • Thanks, Jenn. It has been a crazy and wonderful summer. And you’re right–it WILL work out. I found out that I will still have 20 hours, which will be perfect. More time for my girls and writing. I look forward to seeing you soon!

  3. What lovely descriptions of the coast. Coming home is one of my favorite things about traveling, too, even though one of the fun things about being home is thinking about the next trip. Although your girls are older than my sons, their wonderful homes to keep out the sharks and the monsters on the beach made me think of my own confusion at my bots’ world, so richly populated with four-headed monsters, Bad Cockroach Spiderman, and ferocious dinosaurs–why all the bad guys? Then I read Vivian Gussin Paley’s book, “Bad Guys Don’t Have Birthdays: Fantasy Play at Four,” and recognized the bots’ behavior in the kids Paley works with: if they conjure up a bad guy, it makes their fears concrete, and they gain the power to vanquish him and them. I posted about this phenomenon a few weeks ago: bad-guys-dont-have-birthdays-and-mbot-ate-mommy

  4. Yes, more time sounds perfect! Enjoy it while it lasts!! Sounds like a wonderful trip; makes me want to hit the road…

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