Coming home from vacation isn’t easy. Aside from unpacking and looking around to see what might be different in your house or needs to be cleaned or fixed, there’s the “coming down,” that feeling between vacation you and everyday life you.
I haven’t been myself these last few days. It’s like I scattered myself all over Minnesota (and Ohio and Indiana and Illinois and Wisconsin) during those 10 days away and I don’t know how to collect those pieces into the whole me again.
I slept in Chicago, Luverne, Jasper, Albertville, Breezy Point, Bloomington and Elkhart. Different beds, different showers, different rules. I feel a little weird at home in my own bed, like I’ll wake up tomorrow and have to pack up and move on. This hasn’t happened to me before when I’ve been on vacation. Could it be I really am an old curmudgeon, stuck in her ways? Nothing feels familiar, even in my own home. I feel like a stranger.
Hmmmm…what to do, what to do. What felt so good in these places? What kept me anchored? Carlene was with me most of the time. She’s familiar. But that wasn’t it.
The first night away I was in Chicago. One night from home is something most anyone can do, and considering we had fun and accommodating hosts, that night really doesn’t count as different.
The next night I was in Luverne staying with my late husband’s mother. I wasn’t counting on the extra family members there when we arrived, but again, they were all familiar. Sure, I hadn’t seen them in at least 10 years, but it’s easy to work out the kinks of time apart when you’re with the right family members.
The third night I spent on my cousin’s farm. He’s a single father of two teenage boys and he warned me not to bring along a white glove because he doesn’t clean. What a liar! He cleaned for me. He can deny it, but I know he did. The toilet was clean (and the lid down). The sink, the kitchen, the sheets on his bed that he gave up for me: all clean. Dean talks tough, but he’s a softie. And he’s a great dad.
In his single dad’s room that he gave up for me were photos of his sons as babies, a package of unopened socks, and a Powerball ticket. A picture of Jesus hung on the wall and there was a bowling bag in the corner. A large Utz Cheese Ball plastic jar with loose change inside sat next to the dresser. On the bed were clean pink sheets and a hand-stitched orange print quilt. It was like a tame dorm room lacking marijuana seeds and papers.
I got the least amount of sleep there because I stayed up to watch lightening until 1:30 in the morning. It was a storm 50 miles to the northwest, the kind you can’t see in Pennsylvania because of the hills. It was an array of flashing light dancing across the wide prairie sky. I’d forgot about these and how much I loved and hated them as a child. Loved them for their beauty and hated them for the fear I felt thinking it would actually find me in Jasper.
When I finally feel asleep I dreamed of bears. I don’t know why. I woke up in the morning and took a shower using Old Spice shower gel because I’d left my Dove body wash in my bag in my cousin’s room and I wasn’t going to run out of the bathroom naked looking for it like I’d do at home.
The fourth, fifth and sixth nights I spent in a hotel. The seventh and eighth nights at a resort with my sister and her sons and my stepsons and my daughter, niece and my husband. The last two nights were in hotels with good showers and that’s all I really remember. I saw so much in 10 days of different beds, but it was the night at my cousin’s farm I remember the best. Probably because it wasn’t just a place to lay my head. I was Lynn in QuickTime – no talk of career or arthritis or the minutia of a day in the life. Dean and I covered larger ground, that of relatives and burial plots and the state of farming and major league sports teams in Pennsylvania. I was more comfortable with that anyway.
My friend Rodney said he expected this trip to my home state to “look” like a grainy 1970s home movie. What it really looked like was a scene from “Alice in Wonderland”. And it’s on Dean’s farm that I left the part of me I’m lacking today in my own home. Two days in and I’m still “coming down” from vacation. I don’t suspect I’ll be the exact same person I was when I left when I finally figure it all out. Something changed, something’s different. I’m different. Not to be cryptic, but I’m still trying to figure out what that is.
Do you ever feel like that when you come home from vacation? Like you’re missing something and it’s not socks or underwear? I’d sure like to know because I feel real discombobulated. Not sad or bad, just at loose ends.