I’m going to let some pictures set the context for my Quiet Thoughts:

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I held my grandmother’s hands today and told her how much I love her. I watched my two sons fall into her lap and give her hugs, listened to her chuckle as she rubbed their backs and told them how precious they are. My 87 year-old grandmother cannot see the pictures I take of the boys. Her legal blindness is a special sort of cruelty. However, twice a year, she can hold them and hear them, kiss their soft cheeks, feel the weight of their growing bodies on her lap. It’s one thing for me to weekly regale her with stories of their week, it’s another thing for her to experience them in their fullness, even if it is for a brief moment in time.

That’s how it is to be in Maryland this week. There is nothing like actually being here.

I’ve had to experience home this way for ten years now. Ten years of growing and much-appreciated independence but also ten years of feeling like I’m missing out. Home isn’t waiting for me. Home is changing without me. Home isn’t really home anymore. It probably hasn’t been for a long time. When I packed up and drove away, I made my choice.

But then I watched Ursa Major learn how to pick his own crabs today. I watched him eat three of them! I sat there and watched in wonder and thought, how could this not be home? I’m a Marylander. I’ll always be a Marylander.

As I went through my semi-annual consumption of all things nostalgic, my two boys grew in their appreciation of being here. Maryland means the grandparents and lots of indulgences. It means gifts and dinners out and new faces and lots of hugs. It means different parks and a field-trip every day… this place is a playground for them and they are starting ro really understand it. They love this place because it is exotic and exciting.

They kept calling the crabs “lobsters” because that’s what they know red crustacians on a table to be.

They kept saying the weather down here is “wicked hot” because how else should a New Englander describe 90 degrees and 90% humidity?

Minor kept asking when we are going home, “to our house. The house with our Star Wars blankets? The one with all of our toys? And anyway, can you make muffins when we get home? They don’t make muffins here.”

I guess what I’m learning ten years on is that this will never get any easier. I’ll come down here, get a feel for this place again, then be forced to leave. The new buildings and changed landscape will jar me. The familiar, yet different, will annoy me. The people who anchor this place for me will live on and change, writing the pages of their own stories. This place will not wait me.  It will never, ever wait for me.

I hope I’ll stop wanting it to. Maybe some day I’ll be wise enough for that.

In the meantime, I get to enjoy the gift of two little boys falling in love with this place. I actually get to love it differently as I see it through their interpretation and understand it through their experiences. Ultimately, I get to love this place in a deeper sort of way. If only you could gain this sort of appreciation without the painful act of leaving!

Dear Reader, it is another late night. I’m sorry. I’ll be back to regular schedule on Monday, albeit a bit summer crazy. It’s the time of year when the boys run the table and there is no such thing as a set schedule. But I’ll be returned with fresh new ideas, and hopefully some fun additions and changes that I’ll gradually introduce over the summer. Let’s make the most of these long days and starry nights, yes? I hope you’ll cheer me on. I’ll do the same for you!

On this Friday, my wish for you is a bit of time to think about the place you feel most comfortable and at home. If you are there, I wish you a new surprise, be it small or large. If you are far away, I wish you a time to dream and be nostalgic, drifting away in a daydream to another place and time. I wish you a moment to prepare a favorite food or read an old favorite book. I wish you a day to make plans and go for a visit if you can, or maybe I wish you an excursion in search of a new favorite place and a new adventure.

Maybe home is where your heart is, or where your butt rests, or where your favorite someone is waiting for you… or maybe home is where the sun is setting over a grassy meadow or the moon is rising over a sparkling ocean… maybe home is where a pot of tea is steeping, a good book rests, and a favorite blanket waits for only you…. I wish you a bit of home this weekend, Dear Reader. I hope it fills you up and strengthens you this weekend. I hope it lights the way when things get complicated in this crazy world we share.

Thank you for your patience with me, Dear Reader. Home doesn’t wait for me, and I don’t expect you to either! I’m back like normal on Monday, I promise.

Until then, be kind, do something bold, and take care.

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