And so this year we decided that since we were between renters that we would stay in our actual house when we go "home home" to visit. Last year we stayed with family and friends and never once entered our house. I decided this with much trepidation as this could go either very very well or very very badly. Aidan has been suffering from an adjustment disorder of which we have only recently found out - it explains a lot of his behavior in the last year and a half but also makes coming home something I was a bit ambivilant about now because my fear is that he will only get worse when we have to go back "home" to Barcelona in a few weeks. But I also could not deny him his once a year trip home to see his family and his friends.
But staying in our house potentially could come with a price to pay because of course, he wants to get settled in and he wants to be with his friends... but eventually we will have to leave. And not only will we have to leave but while we are here, we are also moving all of our belongings out. Our new tenants do not need all of our things (and that's fine) and so I've arranged for a POD to be delivered so that I can move our things out while we are here. Yes, just one more adjustment on our plates right? Our floors were refinished last week (thanks Lisa!) and so all our furniture on our first floor had already been moved to our garage which makes the process at least a little easier for me which is good but it also means that when we arrived at our house, the first floor would be completely empty.
Aidan woke up yesterday at 5:30AM (sleeping late compared to last year's 3AM after flying in) and had the BIGGEST smile on his face that I have seen in months. He knew that we were going "home home" today. Liam was just confused which made me sad. He woke up at 6:30 (whew!) and when I told him we were going home he asked me if we were getting on another airplane. He's 4 and he's lived almost half of his life in Spain already - something that does not go unnoticed by me when it comes to things like coming home and how familiar or unfamiliar he is with people or places. He has not been home in 10 months and that is close to 1/4 of his whole life - significant at this age, especially when it comes to memories.
We left for home and got here around 9:15 in the morning, after all, we'd already been up for several hours. You could see the excitement on Aidan's face as we got off the highway on to Rte 123 heading towards home. There were neighbor friends walking their dog as we got out of my dad's truck. Liam, again was confused trying to figure out where we were. He clung to me as I chatted with my friends. My dad and Aidan immediately went inside - Aidan was beaming!! Then Michele and Ashley came running outside and tears were shed and hugs commenced. But Liam didn't recognize either of them. It broke my heart. More friends came by - Debbi, Dennis, Scott, Tracie.. and all the kids. Max, Nate, Aaron... they all started running around inside and outside the house as though we'd never been gone. Even better because there was nothing for them to break as they raced thru the house. It was an amazing moment. And one I won't soon forget. It doesn't matter how far we go or how long we've been away, this is home and yes, you can go home again. I love these people and am so lucky to have them as my friends!!
It was after 11 before I managed to even set foot in my house which was totally fine because I was embracing the moment. Aidan still had his friends over and they were running back and forth between yards. I love that he's 7 now and can have the freedom to run more in the neighborhood without me having to be there every single second - amazing what a year and a half of growth will do. My dad and I brought the kitchen table back in the house along with some chairs, made a few notes of things to do and visited with a few more people before we headed off for a Father's Day lunch at Longhorn (Aidan's absolute favorite restaurant in the whole wide world).
After a nice lunch with my dad we went back to the house. Aidan could not wait to see his friends again and when his door wouldn't open right away he climbed right over Liam, opened his door and raced out the truck. Yes, he was that excited and happy and nothing could have made me happier than seeing that thing called a smile on his face again... it's been too long since we've seen it on a regular basis. He and Liam spent the afternoon at Tracie and Scott's house playing with probably half the neighborhood - and they played hard. I could see them from my house on the jungle gym and playing in the water that they sprayed down the slide and just running running running. I'm amazed that they made it thru the day without collapsing from exhaustion!!
While they were there I headed to the grocery store and what an amazing experience! Since my last visit I've found that yes, I can get by with less stuff from home and that I'm doing just fine. And so I found myself not grabbing every single thing that caught my eye and showed some self restraint. It was hard but I did. And Josh, Edy's is now making instant milk shakes - just add milk to the frozen ice cream and stir - I thought of you and yet, I was good, I didn't buy any because do I really need it??? But I meandered down the aisles soaking up every moment. There were a few moments where I had to say excuse me to get out of someone's way and it would take me a second to not automatically say perdone in Spanish as I was accustomed to... because while I only speak in English with my friends in Spain, in my daily life everything is done in Spanish and it is strange to not need to do that again. I brought my wonderful groceries back here to unpack and started to go thru the house a bit. I completely lost track of time til Michele and Lindsey came over to get me for dinner...
We had a great steak dinner at the Anastasia's after and the kids ran and played some more. Liam was finally starting to open up more which was great. He'd been so shy since we'd first arrived. Tracie said that he played with the kids all afternoon but refused to come near any of the adults. When I said it was time to go home, Liam said, "do we need to get in the car?" And I said no and pointed across the street to our house. "We are just going there". "But what about Papa? Where is Papa?" And once again I had to explain to him that Nana and Papa's house is not our house, but where we stayed last night and most of our last trip last summer. And that this house is our house. It broke my heart a bit that he didn't rememember - after all, Josh and I have had this house for close to 11 years now and for our youngest child to not remember it, well, it most definitely saddened me.
I got the boys to bed and had to leave the light on in the hallway so that they would know how to find me at night since it was their first night home. Aidan surprisingly after all his playing, could not sleep and was determined to help me to start going thru our storage room. He was a huge helper but also didn't seem to get that we were moving out and not back in. He wanted to put things where they belonged and didn't seem to understand why I wanted to move it all to the garage. I think he finally understands, though he's not very happy about it. By 9 he was in bed. I wasn't that far behind though I was determined to make a dent in the storage room and probably got about 1/4 of it cleared out which was impressive for day 1. I was also on a mission looking for some stuffed animals that Aidan left behind - unfortunately I have a feeling that they had gone into the donation pile before we moved but until I know for sure, I will continue my search.
The boys have done amazing with their jetlag. I write this entry long before 7AM and have been up before 5. I was up at 4AM yesterday and 5AM today... both kids are still sleeping and so I will embrace the quiet time while I have it. On tap for today - dentist appointment for the kids (much needed), a trip to the Cape where Aidan will spend the next few days and a home inspection at our house on the cape and then back to Attleboro. Going to try to get some work in as well as while I'm on vacation, I'm never truly on vacation - work calls!
I didn't get many pictures yesterday as I wasn't always with the kids but I have no doubt you'll see a lot coming up once we all get our bearings... more to come this week I'm sure!
Aidan and Lindsey after swimming in her pool... they always always take such cute pictures together!