Forty-eight days have passed since my last post and during that time I have boarded seven airplane flights, changed watches in four time zones, crossed borders into five different US states, driven over 1200 miles and generally squeezed every possible moment out of our five-week trip home.
It was exhausting, but extremely satisfying. An American friend of mine who also lives in Melbourne and had taken a similar trip home at the same time summed it up: “It’s hard to say goodbye at the end, but you feel so full after a trip like that.”
And I do. I feel like the time spent with family, the outings with friends, the experiences shared over meals and glasses of wine, the boat rides, the lakes, the beaches, the warm summer nights- it all adds up to this wonderful feeling of contentment. I am truly blessed with the people in my life, no matter where in the world they live.
When you visit after living abroad, people make time for you. There are BBQs and dinners and baseball games. There are coffees and play dates and late night drinks. It’s a bit of an all-around love fest and we soaked it up, reveling in friendships that have stood the test of time and distance.
Our boys especially enjoyed a heightened level of socializing. Leaving the US aged eight and ten, they had had the time to develop deeper friendships than their younger sister. In some ways, it was as if they hadn’t left. All it would take was one text and six boys would be converging on the local swimming pool for the afternoon.
If there was any concern, it was how I was to get my children back on a flight to Melbourne after five weeks of summer holidays and the unadulterated spoiling by the grandparents. The life they were living wasn’t a sustainable reality, but I wasn’t sure they understood that. A vacation can’t last forever; a holiday eventually has to end or it isn’t truly a holiday, right?
“Are you guys ready to go back to Melbourne?” I asked as we began to pack up the strewn debris of our travels off the floor of my parents’ home.
“Yep,” they all nodded in agreement.
“I’m ready for some routine,” said our middle child.
Our daughter added, “I miss school… and my Aussie friends.”
Their maturity surprised me; I had expected some resistance.
Middle child suddenly looked up from his packing. “Hey, do you think we can do this trip twice a year? I think that would be fun.”
Fun, yes. Financially doable? Nope.
But I liked his thinking.
As for me? Routine be damned. It would take a lot longer than five weeks of vacation for me to cave and request a return to normal life.
It’s a maturity thing.