Over the past year the meaning of the word "home" has become a bit fuzzy to me. Whenever I mentioned "back home" in conversation, everyone knew I meant "back east". But when I put my kids to bed at night, we would say bedtime prayers thanking God for our beautiful home. Which was it? Where is my home? This past couple of weeks I've been able to bring it into focus a bit.
I'm in New Brunswick, the place I have immediately and without hesitation called home for most of my life. Our drive here was successful, and most importantly, completely uneventful. The first day we drove 11 hours and stopped in Levis, PQ, and I rewarded my awesome co-pilots with a hotel with a pool. We all went to bed early and were in the car again at 7:24 a.m., ready for the last leg of the journey. By early afternoon, we arrived for a visit at Nana's, and by 5:15 we had arrived at my parents house in Rothesay. HOME!
We've been "home" 10 days now. We've spent some time in the Saint John area, some time at the cottage in Cambridge-Narrows, and took a day trip to Fredericton last week. Tomorrow we'll go back to the cottage, and then spend a few more days in Freddy. It is as beautiful here as ever; my favourite place in the world. We've enjoyed visits with friends and family. The kids have loved connecting with their cousins, and I've relished the time with my family. But one thing has become abundantly clear to me on this trip. This is not my home. One thing is glaringly absent, making it impossible for this place to fit my definition of home. My husband isn't here. He is in London. So London is home.
I underestimated how much I was going to miss Chris in the two and a half weeks we planned to be apart. It began to become apparent in the few days leading up to our departure. I wasn't looking forward to leaving nearly as much as I had last year. I thought it was because I was nervous about the drive, but when Chris mentioned how we wouldn't see each other for most of July I realized I wasn't looking forward to spending such a large chunk of my summer without him. Thank goodness for technology, because my texting skills have grown by leaps and bounds in the past week! I miss sharing my days with my husband. He knows me and understands me like no one else does, and I appreciate him in a whole new way now. I love my family, but he is the most important part of my family. Home is where he is, and that is absolutely the way it's supposed to be.
I'm sure when Chris arrives next Saturday I'm going to be completely content to be in New Brunswick, and saying goodbye to this place and all my loved ones in it a week later will be just as difficult as ever. I will miss my dear friends and family and look forward to visits from them, and another trip "home" next summer. But I'm also pretty sure about something else. In two weeks, when we get in the car to begin that long journey back to Ontario, I'm not going to be confused about where I'm going. I'll be heading home.