My mom, who lives with us part-time, arrived home tonight after having been gone for 3 months. My husband, who happens to be in Boston right now and misses us all very much, emailed and asked me if she had made it home yet, and if so, to describe what her first night back was like. Here was my response:
Although it took her 7 hours to make a 4-hour trip, she has arrived.
Her boundless energy exhausts me.
The kids are thrilled; the toys come out. Thus begins the endless parade of “look at this,” and “I brought you that.” “Do you think so-n-so will like this or will she think it’s tacky?”
The kids won’t stop smiling. There is somehow sweet and sour sauce in the living room, on the coffee table, on the couch. But we are all smiling.
Later, I rock the baby as she reads to the other little one. As the baby’s eyes drift shut, I fear she will too-loudly shut our daughter’s bedroom door and say, decibel upon decibel louder than necessary, “goodnight, I love you!” and the finally-sleeping baby will wake.
But tonight, for the first time ever, she remembers to close it quietly. Whisper her goodnights.
She doesn’t know I can see her, and she dances down the hall. Shuffle step snap. She shushes the wall when she bumps into it, so the wall doesn’t wake the kids.
Later, unloading her truck, she hands me a jug of water. I question it and she says, “It’s good. You can drink it,” and I see her driving 85 mph down the wrong road, swigging from the gallon as she curses herself for getting lost. That little shake of the head I know so well.
The house, previously so tired, so full of illness, is alive. A better place than it was before.