I didn't feel homesick often on my 18-day roadtrip. I loved where I was, each day I was there. Except maybe the stretch between the airport concourse in Tampa and the rental car lot, I didn't like that. Also, that miserable hot wait when I thought I might have to live forever in the nasty bowels of the subway from Brooklyn, I didn't so much love that. But otherwise, held by the charms of seven cities and by so many new faces, stories and ideas, I didn't have a moment or much cause to be homesick.
It's not for lack of love in my home that I didn't miss it, but it's true I'm ready for an empty nest. The boys are independent in many ways, but like so many others in their cohort are really tethered to our rebound and slow-to-launch home for primarily financial reasons. My travels are a welcome break for all of us. A few calls home, and a few assurances that they are, indeed, singing to River nightly so he doesn't pine for me, are all we seem to need.
In fact, I cop to having a bit of dread about my homecoming. They can, understandably, roll a little feral i my absence, but that's problem in that they don't yet live in their own bachelor pads. In the past I've been welcomed with inexplicably broken water valves and plague-worthy fly swarms above a recycling bin of PBR remains. (And yes, I am proud that they recycle, regardless of the substance said renewable resource delivered.) Coming home to young adults can mean finally sleeping in your own bed or hoping that the emergency cash is still in its drawer and that no new roommates of any species/sorority/probationary status have joined your tiny house.
Still, I found myself overcome with a distinctly John Denveresque reverie in the last half hour of my trip. My windows rolled down from the power of my longing alone! I belted a Ukraine-television-worthy mashup of HOME songs while I snorted and tasted the wind of my Florida town like I was Super-Moon-possessed. Take me home country roads! Homeward bound, I wish I was, homeward bound! I'm on my way, I'm on my way, home sweet home, tonight tonight!
And my Aerosmith favorite:
I'm dreamin' tonight
I'm dreamin' back home
Take me back to a south Tallahassee
Down cross the bridge to my sweet sassafrassy
Can't stand up on my feet in the city
Got to get back to the real nitty gritty
Yes sir, No sir
Don't come close to my
Home sweet home
Can't catch no dose
Can you beat the Tallahassee/sassafrassy rhyme? No, ma'am, you can not.
Nipping at the heels of that beckoning wind, though, was the pain that my love does not wait silently for me. Homecoming no longer means coming home to a beloved's arms, damn you Simon, damn you Garfunkel you liar, damn you John Perkyass Denver. In fact when that sunk in midway through Homeward Bound, I said the word "home" again and again until it made no sense, until it was a guttural "ohm." And then I started to sing Tom Waits' House Where Nobody Lives, and o sweet sassafrassy, no happiness can come from that.
So I pulled myself together by thinking of an upbeat song and making myself sing Cecilia the rest of the way--but it turns out those lyrics are fraught too, damn you Simon, but I coped by emphasizing the pure pleasure held in the poem of the word "jubilation." Fortunately then I pulled in the driveway, and the kids and River took over. River ran in a circle of golden dervishness for several minutes and then sat on my feet the rest of the night to ensure I didn't even think of leaving. And the boys had a belated Mother's Day bounty for me. Diet Coke in the fridge, because they know me. Lovely chocolates (see also: they know me and are such good guys.) And, a dozen! long-stemmed! roses!--which is a sure sign some single mama is raising them right, no? (Those make the third bouquet I've received in the last two weeks, insanely lucky me, completely blowing all previous flower-related stats out of the aspirin-emulsion water, for sure.)
And, moreover, they proudly announced that they had freshened up my room--dusted, mopped wood floors, and changed my sheets. That was actually a bit much for an adult woman, though, and a slideshow of potential traumas flashed through my head underwearsexthingsjournallovenoteomgwhat but apparently all went well.
So I'm home. I have a lot to sift through in my physical, virtual and metaphorical inboxes: I have memories, intentions and luggage to unpack. Maybe I'll learn the boys' roses are a cover-up for some wicked deed I don't know about yet, but for now I'm just enjoying the grace of watching them open as my suitcase stays closed. I have all sorts of playlists to boom as I open mail and slowly get caught up. The dog at my feet tells me I'm not rolling anywhere else too soon, so there's time to sort through it all. I'm home.