I was finally able to visit my family a week and a half ago, after waiting what seemed like forever. I had to wait until we were all vaccinated (now we are, even the teenager!), and I had to wait until after the semester and my contract were over. Those events finally converged right before Memorial Day here in the US, and I planned a road trip out East to spend time with them for the first time in nearly 18 months (we last saw each other around New Year’s, 2020).
I know that others are still waiting for the opportunity to spend time with their own beloved family members, and I hope that you get to experience the same happiness I felt at seeing my own family very soon.
Anyway, I wound up driving out all in one day – about a 13.5 hour drive with stops. Hard but not impossible, particularly when you are bound and determined to reach your destination. There was no way – despite what I told my father, who worried that I’d be too tired to make it – that I was going to stop with only a few hours left in the drive, when I knew that I could be seeing them instead. No. Way. So I pushed through, helped by fairly liberal amounts of caffeine and snacks.
And oh, was it worth it. The hugs alone were worth it. I am not a very physically affectionate person, unlike the rest of my family, but those hugs… they were just what I needed to remind myself that this was real. The best part about the visit was that we did not try to do too much. We spent time together. I toured the gardens. We went on walks. I went on early-morning runs. We went to the farm stand, the stores, on a country drive. We had ice cream and strawberries for dessert. We (finally) celebrated my nephew’s birthday. Dinner with my second parents. Good food… so much good food (which, remember, is my family’s love language).
Then it was over. I was driving back home before I knew it. I hope with all my heart that it won’t be 18 months before I see them again. I hope that we have mostly kicked this virus, but I also know that vaccination rates are slowing down and it’s entirely possible that by the holidays we will be back under restrictions. But I can’t let myself think of that now…. instead, I’ll remember the joy I felt spending time with some of my favorite people in the world, and look forward to the next time.