It's never easy to say goodbye. But it sure is good to get hugs from my kiddos and a kiss from my husband and be reminded that I am again home. Home...my heart pulls in two different directions and that was evident as I celebrated a family party in America with my own family missing from the equation, thousands of miles away. Will it ever get easier or continue to tug at my heart with each little reminder of the distance? Will I ever feel secure in the knowledge that I made this decision, this move, and tore myself away from all that is familiar? I can't answer that. I only know that I am styuck between two worlds with my heart reaching in both directions. And as much as it pains to say goodbye, til next time, saying hello is just as strong an emotion in the opposite direction.
The trip was without doubt, wonderful. I was able to visit with each and every relative on my mom's side of the family, as well as relatives from England whom I haven't seen in a number of years. And all of my grampa's family was also present and I was filled with smiles as they all asked about my life in Europe, as I relayed little stories about my family and my life over the ocean. It is as if I live an adventure to all of them, and try to live up to those expectations through my stories of our travels and the events with which I am able to take part. I know I am lucky. I experience many things that many Americans only dream of experiencing. I know I am blessed, for I have the love of a wonderful husband and two beautiful children. Yet, my heartstrings tug and that is one adventure I wish I never had to explore.
My grandparents looked radiant on their special day. My gramma in her tiara and grampa in a brand new white shirt, both faces filled with love and smiles, all their children once again under the same roof, remembering back to the beginnings of this Hesprich family. I couln't help but shed a few tears as my uncle delivered a speech reminding us how good it feels to be home, our childhood a part of the person we have become, our parents guiding us to be the people we have turned out to be. The old farmstead replica added a sense of comfort as we all enjoyed stories about swimming in the pig troughs, hanging chairs from trees for some privacy, accidentally baking baby pigs as gramma tried to keep alive on the warm fire. It really brought me a sense of security seeing how far this family has come, still together after all these years, generations together in one place.
My parents took me on a little trip to Wayne, Wisconsin. I had never before heard of Wayne, but when they discovered the little house on the corner of the main street with a bar next door, I could hear the giggles and see the laughter in their faces as we "broke in" an open back door and I heard stories from their youth...as well as saw the special place where their love created little me some 36 years ago. I have a picture that I will hold forever sacred as they pointed to the place that housed their bed on the floor, the place that my life began, the place that they remember their own beginning. In that delapidated old house that looked as if it were ready to be torn down, life once again came alive as I heard of the parties they hosted, the scary upstairs that noone would enter, and the car rides to and from Wayne to Mayville so my parents could spend time together. It made me feel totally happy, to finally see this place from where I had come.
My gramma's birthday was celebrated the first day of my trip. We all headed to the senior center where my aunt gave her senior aerobics class to all the residents and we were nourished with good home cooking of corned beef and cabbage for St. Paddy's Day. It really was fun to see the exchange between my grandparents and the other residents. In their old age, they still have a place to call home, friends to share time with. As a closure to the day we all headed to a taco dinner at the local pub and then onto the casino. I came out of there with a $100 win and we all left pretty content after an evening gambling, something I rarely do as it seems such a waste of money. But it was a great time and I did have a blast, and so did my gramma which was most important of all.
I managed to go shopping one day and though the stores in the area were minimal I happily loaded my cart with a few goodies from "home" and a few treats for my guys back home. Amazing how bringing goodies from America reconnects something within me. As I presented some cereal and pop tarts and chewing gum and marshmallows to the kids, they knew this was special, this American treasure, and they reacted with the OOOhs and OOOha's that gave my heart a pitter-patter. This was my way of sharing their American heritage with them, when they couldn't be present to see it first hand. And they were grateful and accepting and we all had fun.
My little nephew brought me so many smiles as his hugs captured me in love. He is so inquisitive and wants to figure everything out and it was just so darn cute. As we ate his little toothless mouth opened and closed knowing this was something he also wanted to enjoy. He's just such a happy baby and I couldn't have gotten greater pleasure then holding him, playing with him, showing him the ducks and boat on a picture that he never tired of seeing. Seeing him for the first time since he was a newborn gave me a happiness beyond what can be described in words. It was pure sweetness and i loved every second of him.
My grandparents exchanged rings at their 60th anniversary party and as they held hands, wrinkly and old, and told each other they would marry all over again, I couldn't help but feel grateful. They looked so beautiful together on this special day. They gave me hope for what my own future could hold.
On my last day in America, I traveled with my parents to look at a machine my dad is interested in buying. I always love going on little jaunts with my parents because they always hold a sense of adventure and you just never quite know what you are in for. Well, we were infor an adventure for certain as we lost our way on the back-roads and had barely enough time to catch our flights. With my dad, you just know that getting on the plane, on-time, is invariably a question of maybe. He loves stress, and everyone else around him better also know how to handle it. We made it to the airport with a scant hour to return the car and catch our planes, and as we caught the bus back to the terminal and parted ways, the emotional good-bye was replaced with relief that we ahd made it. And we did. A few little tears escaped down my cheeks as I waved at them through the windows of the bus and then hurried on through security to catch my own flight home.
And then, 28 hours later, I was home. My boys greeted me at the train station with stories and smiles and their eyes gave me peace that all had gone just fine while I was away. And home, well, there's just nothing better than home, wherever that may be on any particular day in time.