I’ve been in my childhood hometown for 10 days now. I’ve enjoyed every second of being back. When Dad first died I didn’t know how I would do coming back to my childhood home and all the good and really hard memories of the last years. Every nook and cranny of the house and property has memories. I worried that seeing my Aunt and Uncle would only remind me that Dad is not with us anymore. I was scared that a place that for so many years was a place of refuge would be just too painful to visit.
But, it hasn’t worked that way. I find comfort in walking into a place and having someone say, “You’re Dave’s daughter” and then they share a little memory with me. There is nothing more comforting to me than to go have lunch with my Aunt and within 10 minutes 7 more family members walk in the same deli for a meal. I can sit in my home and feel Dad’s presence here. I do not see my family everyday when I’m home, but there is just security in knowing they are just down the road.
And, since I stepped foot back in Western New York I have eaten my way through the region. We’ve had chicken wings and GOOD NY pizza 3 times in 10 days. We’ve eaten WAY too many Sahlen’s hot dogs and I have 10 pounds frozen in my freezer to take back with us. I won’t even tell you how many containers of Bison chip dip I’ve gone through. If you’ve never had it–I am sorry. The amount of heavy, rich food we’ve consumed even had Munchkin saying to me the other day, “Mama, let’s have a nice salad for lunch instead of left over pizza.” Yeah, my 4.5 year old was preaching to me. I may have packed on a few pounds during my stay. Ok, more than a few. Here’s a picture of exactly WHY I’ve gained weight.
We’ve also hiked some amazing places. New York State has some of the most beautiful state parks. We visited Letchworth State Park and hiked nearly 5 miles. It was simply beautiful, peaceful and best of all our phones didn’t work. I’m a different person when I am here. I am more laid back. I’m not as concerned with a clock, cell phone, email or any other means of communication. Heck, I let my phone go dead today and just shrugged my shoulders.
Most importantly, I’ve simply spent time with family. It is reassuring to gather around Dad’s grave together, celebrate a birthday party, have dinner or just run into a family member in the store. I’ve spent countless quality hours snuggling with Munchkin, reading to her and watching all her favorite Disney movies. Hubby and I have joked, laughed and talked. I deeply cherish these times together. It can all be gone too soon. We can blink our eyes and the next thing you know you are facing a year without your Dad.
It is now time to head back into our other world. One where it is just my little family including Mom and my sister. I’m known as Dr. Sociologist and not “Dave’s daughter.” A world that is much more chaotic than my refuge. One that will include many more salads as I try to undo the increase in pounds, cholesterol and triglycerides.
Some might say that is simply normal after you return from a vacation. No. I don’t see this as a vacation. I’m going back to my other world stronger from the time I spent with my family, memories and stories i always hear. I wasn’t on vacation. I was simply home.