Years ago, decades actually, when my oldest was a toddler, my husband was in graduate school. It was a competitive program, in the heart of L.A., an expensive school an expensive city, and so he was gone. Working so many jobs coming and going and studying, doing clinicals, up late, up early, sleeping 3, maybe 4 or 5 hours a night and R and I would spend each evening alone, together. I would pick my little elf child up from day care and we would eat dinner together- something cheap- and then we would snuggle in her bed to read stories and I would sing her songs and rub her back until we were both asleep, tired from long days and over stimulation.
Last night we were talking past bedtime so she climbed into bed and we snuggled together, cocooned under down quilts, surrounded by sub-zero temps and I marveled at this child, who is now grown and independent and traveling hither and yon but still my little one. She'll be boarding a plane again tomorrow and flying back to a life that we are so far removed from, due to distance among other things. And we will miss her.
I used to wonder at the saying, "blood is thicker than water," since I was raised with little family beyond our 5. It just didn't compute. But it's becoming clearer to me as our kids become adults and go out into the world; as we've gone out into the world. Feche and I were talking this afternoon and we both agreed that seeing extended family more - any amount of more- would be far preferable to our current situation. And he mentioned the desire to be with our tribe. Our people. The "thickers" of our world.
And tomorrow when we put Miss R on the plane our little corner will be thinner, a bit emptier, certainly quieter and without as much sparkle. Funny how each one in a tribe contributes their piece. Their personality. Their pizazz. And leaves a hole when gone.
It's been a year of holes and thinning tribe. And I am homesick again. Heart sick for home. Aching, at times literally for something not even tangible.. But I find myself, once again, imagining the scene in Narnia, where the tribe is gathered, the whole motley, dazzling crew of them, gathered and feasted and full. And they settle in around the fire, snuggled together, cocooned by the warmth of each other's sparkle and familiarity and love. And there is no more going away....