Monday, July 14, 2008

Home is Where the Heart Is

My son Jim and his girlfriend Heather arrived from California last week for a vacation. Heather has never been to Washington and it has been several years since Jim was here to visit. My younger son Michael lives nearby in Bellingham with his partner Ryan. Now I was only missing my daughter to make it complete. She kept telling me she wasn’t coming but somehow I knew she would be here, and she arrived several hours later from Las Vegas to try and surprise me.

I called my mom in California to tell her all the kids were here and she told me to enjoy every minute of my time with them. It made me realize even more how much my mom treasures the times when my siblings and I are all together. We had a family reunion planned in Missouri for August, but with rising fuel cost and airline tickets, we had to cancel the reunion. So this is my mini reunion with my children and their partners.

I’ve spoiled all the kids with favorite foods, time to relax and no chores to do, taking lots of pictures, and giving and getting hugs and snuggles. I fixed one of their favorite casseroles Wednesday and we had family dinner night with everyone talking and telling stories from their childhood. There’s nothing like having babies (even if the babies are all grown up) back in the house to fill our home with energy.

The kids all scattered to see the sights, visit friends, and when they weren’t eating home cooked meals they were sampling the local eating places. So much to do and only so many days to do it in, Seattle, Pikes Market, shopping, Lake Whatcom, Whatcom Falls, the farmers market, cheer stunting with old friends, and church services. Kelly went to White Rock with her friend Haley to visit friends she hasn’t seen in three years and a night of dancing. Jim and Heather took me along with their friend Ian (who we sort of adopted into the family when we moved to Washington and he lived next door with his family) to the movies. Larry stayed home for quiet time with a good book and Michael and Ryan were out friends.

We took family pictures and Jim, Heather, and Kelly, joined Larry and I for the Mt. Baker Chapter HOG picnic in Sumas. A Frisbee game, barbeque hamburgers, hotdogs, and the best potato salad and beans you have ever had. Larry and I watched the softball game between our chapter and our sponsoring H-D Bellingham dealer. Jim played centerfield for our team and Heather pitched and after seven innings our team won. Kelly being the friendly cheerleader meet and greet personality enjoyed talking and visiting with our chapter members.

One more family dinner on Sunday evening to spend with my children before they have to return to their homes and jobs tomorrow. My sister Sharron told me years ago that it is always harder to be the one left behind, than the one leaving when saying good-bye. Sort of. Sometimes. It depends on who you are saying good-bye to. Being separated from my family is never easy for me. Home is where the heart is and little pieces of my heart are in Washington, California, Nevada, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Maryland, North Carolina, and Iraq, everywhere my loved ones are.

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