Friday could not go by fast enough, I did my best to get done as much as I could, but I was leaving at 3pm so we could get a head start on our trip. Boyfriend was driving, I was navigating. There is an interesting overall feeling to our car trips to New England. As we drive through New Jersey the trip seems fresh and we chat about everything from our future together to the weather to our plans for next weekend. The road ways are wide and industrialized filled with tractor trailers and weekend travelers. Thankfully we ran into zero traffic the whole way. I was literally crossing my fingers at some points just praying to not see a explosion of red brake lights. Our trip takes us to the tip of New Jersey, through New York, and then to the dark roads of Connecticut on our way up to Massachusetts.
It's always about halfway through the journey, usually somewhere just over the New York state line, that this sense of calm washes over me. After two or so hours Boyfriend and I are content to just sit and watch the world go by and enjoy the late evening sun setting in the distance. I am on my way home. It is as if my body knows where we are going. It tells my mind to relax, there is nothing to worry about because we are going home.
Home of course is not about a town or a house or an address. It is about the people. The most relaxing and assuring thing about going home is knowing that the people you are with accept you 100 percent exactly as you are. No matter how long it has been since you have been away. No matter what you have done in the past, or what happens when you are there. No matter how long you stay, or even that you have to leave, home is truly where you heart is. Now that I have done some growing up, my love for my family has grown so much stronger. They are the ones who understand me best, they are the ones who are most like me. When I arrive home that night my mom is still dressed in her running shorts and sneakers and we hug, as always it feels so good to be back. When I tell them I plan on running twelve miles in the morning they barely even blink, they would be more surprised if I said I was sleeping in.
For three days I wake up to bright sunlight and chirping birds instead of closed blinds, screeching horns and wailing sirens. On my morning runs I say hi to anyone that passes, although I usually know about half of them. Neighbors out in their yards greet me as I run by. And later at a friends BBQ at least two people comment that they saw me "jogging" this morning around town. I don't correct them and say I was running. I just smile and nod and say yes and they smile widely as they say "I thought that was you!".
My mom eats just like me. Or rather, as Boyfriend says, I eat just like my mom seeing as she has been around longer and my habits come from her. The fridge is stocked with fresh healthy ingredients, fruits, vegetables and yogurt, and there is always a fresh pot of coffee brewing before I even wake up. I am in heaven. But I don't take it for granted. I am always cleaning something or putting things away. For some reason when I go home I can't help it. I feel like it earns me my time to stay here even though I know I am always welcome. Although I long ago forfeited my childhood bedroom to my youngest sister, knowing there is always a spot for me on the couch is good enough. I quickly get used to a house full of people and adore that there is always someone around to talk to even if we are just laying around making fun or reality TV stars. Even better if there is a family party, which there was, and we all get together for a festival of good food, cold drinks, and hour after hour of laughter.
No matter how long I stay, it is never enough time. It has been seven years since we packed up my life in my mom's Volvo station wagon and took off for Philadelphia. I have plans of someday doing back but for now I live my life in two cities, four states apart. I sneak in one last five mile run with Mom and Boyfriend, before gathering my things for the long trip home. Mom of course doesn't let us leave with out taking some of her homemade carrot cake, a container of fresh sliced up watermelon and a bottle of red wine. I am happy to have made the trip, happy to be going back to my city life, but sad to be leaving the comfort and relaxation of home. Even as we drive away, towards the chaos of our day to day lives I began plotting when we can come back next.