We recently taught our boy what “home” is, so any time we are out and about and we want to help him see that our activities are coming to an end, we can say, “Do you want to go home?” and he will chant “Home! Home! Home!” There have been times when he has done this without any prompting, and it warms me to hear it. Today, before leaving my parents’ house, I asked Baby Genius, “Do you want to go home?” And he beamed as if he had forgotten briefly that there was such a thing, and through his sweet smile said, “Home.”
So today we came home. We are all relieved and happy to be here.
Our holidays out of town were, in a word, chaotic. We spent the whole time at my mom and step-dad’s place beginning with Christmas Eve when we celebrated with the whole family. Our family dynamic has changed so much in the past two and a half years when my sister added the first grandchild to the mix. Now my brother, my sister, and I all have kids, and it’s a very different experience gathering together. Most of us are busy kid-wrangling, so the conversations aren’t as leisurely as they once were, and my mom, as sweet as she is, doesn’t see that we’re grown-ups who don’t need a bunch of gifts to be happy, so she overdoes it with gifts for us, and she overdoes it with gifts for the grandkids, and so much time is spent unwrapping that little time is left just for being in each other’s company.
But it is fun to see the kids together, and next year, when they’re 1, 2, and 3, it’s going to be especially joyful. BG loves his two-year-old cousin and will hug her and let her kiss him endlessly–until she gets overbearing (and she inevitably does). He loves to touch the baby’s head and call him “Behbeh.” It is so sweet to imagine these kids growing up together, yet I do wonder how it will be; all of them are being raised so differently. At the same time, staying at my mom’s with my sister and her child (as well as my sister’s new boyfriend) was not the warm family time I had hoped for. The two-year-old requires a great deal of attention, and my sister wanted to devote her attention to nearly everything else but her daughter. Tantrums and mayhem ensued. We found ourselves retreating to our room with BG on more than one occasion to listen to some quiet music and escape the chaos. By the time we left today, I know my poor parents were more than ready for an empty home, and yet my sister lingered. There is little that annoys me more than lazy parenting, and my sister is the laziest of parents who expects everyone around her to care for her child once she arrives and until she leaves. Consequently, BG gets little time with his grandparents, whom he sees far less frequently than the two-year-old does. It sucks.
Imagine my “delight” when my sister told my parents she’d be staying a third night. We were ready to get the hell out of there. Alas, that would not be our fate. We originally wanted to come home yesterday, but J caught a nasty stomach bug which laid her flat all day yesterday and last night. BG caught it late last night as well, so I spent a good many hours cleaning up vomit–off of me, off of him, off of the floor and the bathtub. At one point, I was draped in towels from head to foot as I snuggled the poor boy wrapped in a towel for a blanket. Yeah, it was that kind of night. Glamorous it was not.
Fortunately, today everyone was well enough to head home, so we trudged through the packing while the two-year-old threw tantrum after tantrum because she wasn’t getting the attention she needed. J and BG sequestered themselves in our room while my mom helped me pack the car, and we finally got out of there. I asked BG as we pulled down the driveway, “Do you want to go home, sweet boy?”
“Home! Home! Home!” was his reply.
“Let’s go home then,” J and I said.
And getting home, seeing his face light up as he saw that we were headed up our stairs, hearing him chant, “Home, home, home” as we neared the door, made all of that chaos melt away. Nothing feels quite so good as coming home after being away–except for seeing that through one’s child’s eyes as well. We may not love this apartment or this town, but it is home, and it’s damn good to be here.