You can go home again

In early April, I flew to the USA from Bali. My parents were moving out of a home they’ve had for 30+ years and had a daunting task of packing up, so went back to give them a hand. The blog has been in “catch up” mode since then, but we are finally pretty much caught up. I like to keep it real time but we’ve gradually slipped as internet access has been hard to come by. Images bring the stories to life, and it’s hard to keep the posts photo-rich without a good connection!

It was an amazing trip, even waking up to scenes like this were a shock to the system. Almost as surprising as hearing a southern accent in the Seoul airport’s English PA announcements. Seriously, how did that happen?

PAB memories

I hadn’t seen my parents in three and a half years- our last visit to the states, when we drove north from Mexico in the 2009 hurricane season. Being able to arrive on my father’s birthday was really special! We decorated his (German Chocolate) cake with an egg cozy that Mairen had made.

PAB memories

Skype is great for staying in touch, but there’s nothing like being together! My brother flew in from Brookline to visit, and brought his three year old daughter- what a joy to meet my niece for the first time. I am one seriously happy auntie.


We did have blue skies… for about a day and a half, as the northern Michigan spring fought hard to come forth. It was at least enough to revisit a favorite spot again: this cool “Turnip Rock” is just down the road, and features in a whoooole lotta my childhood / young adulthood summertime memories.

PAB memories

It was a busy few weeks, trying to find balance between my tendency to purge (amazing how boat living can change the way you feel about Stuff) and my parent’s need to take more time, and respect the history and memories that this house holds while thinking about what still has a place in their future. We made it, I helped a little, and we’re still talking, so it’s all good.

Before flying back to Bali, I spent three days in the home turf of Bainbridge Island. There’s really just one picture that sums it up for me:

I’m just going to say that I am one very, very lucky person to call Tracey my friend. We met with babies, and now we’ve got high school students (eeek!). She helps hold us together back in the states. I will admit: I worried about if it would be hard to jump back in after not seeing her for nearly five years. It wasn’t. My heart is full, and I am a ninny for even wondering.

And while my heart-cup runneth over, I was able to see my aunties. These four women are precious, and as i think I may have said a few times that night (I blame the killer Hitchcock martini), they make me feel like I won the jackpot in the auntie lottery.

the auntie lottery jackpot

When I first firmed up plans to go back, the children were all over me- “you’re SO LUCKY!” “I’m jealous!” I tried to make them feel better about it by downplaying my plans- I mean, hey, they were in BALI. It doesn’t suck. But it’s true: I had a special chance to go home again. We can’t afford to fly home as a family, and it was special- they just wanted to share that, to celebrate it with me- and once I could realize that, we reveled in it together instead. The real magic for me came when I realized how wonderful, how lucky I am, to be able to actually go home and feel at home. To be welcomed back by friends like Tracey and Joan, like my old Razorfish mates; to see the spring greening the island on familiar ways; to know that this place was one I could always, always come home to.

One Response

  1. This strikes chords with me, and perhaps anyone who lives or has lived far from parents. In my case too, taking a family of five from Asia to UK to visit my parents is a lot of wonga. It’s cheqper now my Dad had died to bring just my Mum over, and I would pay a hell of a lot more to still be flying him here as well. But I can’t, and we must live with memories bringing them to life as we can, for ourselves as well as our children and grandchildren. Some might say, and I did for a while say it myself, that it’s morbid to video a funeral. My Mum struggled with it, and we left it to a vote by my brothers and sister to decide. They were all in favour, and ‘though I’ve only watched snippets since, I will eventually feel able to watch the whole thing again, and it’s a way to remind our children of their Grandad’s values, that will stand any man or woman in good stead.

    Well, and here’s the thing. It’s always a joy to go home in the sense of visiting the people you came from; your Mum and Dad, Aunties and Uncles and so on, and the new lives the cousins have brought to life since you left. Living far away, as we both do, and when I compare the remote relationships my children have with their cousins, I know there is a trade off: a certain type of adventure at home with all those home-born relationships, or an adventure far from ‘home’, which one can invite people to join by visiting.

    On balance, I am in favour of living life to its fullest experience: it is worth ‘sacrificing’ some familial relationships to enrich your children’s and your own lives.

    It may seem selfish to some, to fly on your own for a reunion on your own, without your husbad and children. More selfish is to deny yourself, your husband and your children of the incredible and rare experience you are all having together. And which, thanks to your blog, we have the pleasure of sharing.

    Fair winds x

Comments are closed.