Home is a great place to be. After a whirlwind two weeks driving cross country to our final desitnation with family in California, and a total of seven states, 70 hours in a rental van, and 4,824 miles behind us, home is a really great place to be. I never knew I could miss something like my couch so much, but suede never felt so good on my butt. The joyful happiness of spending time with family is immeasurable though, and we are so thankful to have had the time to take our family to be with them and all our wonderful new friends. Life seems brighter, happier, and more positive now. People are funny like that. They have a way of entering your heart and giving you gifts of love you never knew you were missing. If you are lucky enough for them to let you give a little love back, you momentarily feel like this world is pretty flawless, if only innocently for a few days. It’s a new perspective, new hope. Everyone should remember what that feels like at some point.
That’s is what I love about vacations. They let you escape for a bit from reality and remember the world outside your tiny bubble. After almost 4 years here in Illinois now, our family needed it more than ever. Though the journey was long, I will never forget Panda’s face the first time he saw the Rocky Mountains, or the moment he and Fox first felt the sand and waves of the Pacific Ocean inbetween their toes. I’ll always remember the way their grandparents spoiled them with hugs and attention, kisses with cotton candy, and funny little things like hunting for ‘brown treasures’ in the backyard with Grandpa (little presents from the dogs). The sun had a way of recharging our souls and the wind of the desert blew away troubles from home that didn’t really seem like troubles anymore. It was a long beautiful adventure and one we will never be able to let go of.
Each day since our return, our daily routine has returned slowly in a way. The span of time seems a little different, the summer seems longer, and cooking dinner and tucking my kids in at night seems like less of a routine and more a priviledge. I will always treasure California and the people in it, but it is so good to be home feeling refreshed.
The question I have been asked the most since my return is, “Did you get to sketch while you were gone?” As much as I wished there had been time for watercolors and a love affair with the scenery at Santa Monica Pier, there just wasn’t time. I even left my camera in my bag during much of the time that I would normally have had it glued to capturing those candid moments. I think I spent more time just taking it all in. That’s pretty rare for me. I love my camera, but I love the experience more. Another learning process for me. I did pull out a pencil and journal through the Rockies and Utah, just to have a reference for making a scrapbook or photobook of our trip. That’s about it for art though.
When I returned home, I did a little sketching of the California poppies that I adored seeing growing in random spots all over California. Since it is taboo to pick them, I’ll settle for the memory of them in a little maison jar. I’ll save it with all the little ticket stubs, parking passes and room keys we gathered along the way and hopefully be able to make a little keepsake with them.