See, the thing about Adventures is that it’s easy to think all the special things are finished upon your return. I’m not sure that’s entirely true…
“Secretly, my favourite part about going on trips is coming home”
my favourite cousin once told me. I can understand that. I too, like coming home.
I just got home from snuggling a baby. Actually, I went to use the hot tub, then sat in my slippers on a big comfy couch and snuggled a baby for a whiles at my Auntie’s house, while my Uncle M introduced me to the world of music videos of the ’60s. The kiddos made root beer floats. “How long are you staying?” They ask. “A little while” I say. The baby a few weeks old and has big brown eyes that are oh-so-dark and lovely.
Yesterday I spent the day in a hay shed. My skinny arms got a workout as I hauled square bales and got to know Uncle Tim’s neighbours. It’s haying season, and though my cousins have been enlisted year after year I have hardly made an appearance at this dynamic season. This year I made an effort to contribute a day at the least. At the end of it I think I have a tan but it’s all dust that comes off in the shower. I count layers of dust, sweat, straw, oil, and chocolate on my skin but it’s hard to tell the difference between what is what. I have only one blister and my jeans will never be the same.
My Uncle Jerry is hard, strong, wirey and spry. My Grannie’s brother, he is my Great-Uncle and lives right close to Uncle Tim. I was sent to borrow some 900 baler twine. Not that I know what the 900 means or anything, but I can drive a quad and ask Auntie Sugar, who can rummage in the various sheds before producing and strapping the heavy rolls of thin orange rope to the back and trundling back up the dusty road. The quad is the exact same as the one we used all through my younger years (you know, back in the day) but still I forget how to find reverse. It’s been too long.
Matthew and Nevin are my cousins who understand jet lag. My house is lonely of people this week so I invited myself to theirs and Enlisted them for Operation Keep Anna Awake. Matthew and I eat popsicles and I pester Nevin as much as I can. He puts up with me and calls me a Jem before slipping out of the neighbourhood to go house-sitting.
Home again, I realize it’s too late to call my Bigger Brother and his Wifey. We’ve been playing phone tag this week, as I have yet to wish him a Happy Birthday. That was Sunday. The Other Brother is out at camp and I need to call him too to talk about car-sharing and housekeeping. I should ask about his birthday too. (We’re three days in a row, you know.) I remind myself to reply to Jody, so I can see two more cousins this week when they visit. I haven’t seen them in two years and that too, is too long.
But even with this empty house and brothers spread apart, I am reminded tonight that I am not alone. This is home. I have roots here. Family.
And that is not something I ever want to take for granted.