A misty Missouri sunrise begins the last day of our journey home. We cross the Mississippi river, into my home state of Illinois, and I smile in the knowledge that we're so close. We're almost there! Everything is familiar now, as normal as it always used to be, and my excitement is replaced with contentment, that familiar ease of coming home. No longer am I looking at the landscape around me as a tourist would, for this place, whether I like it or not, is a part of me, and I a part of it.
A few hours later, we're pulling into the driveway, beaming at the homemade paper banner my parents have proudly and thoughtfully taped across the garage to welcome us back. The house itself looks much the same; the grass has been recently mowed, and the summery scent of it fills the air, mingling with the heady aroma of peonies blooming in the garden. Then the door opens, and I'm home again.
For a moment, I am a child in my father's arms; he's gently and effortlessly carrying my nightgowned body, heavy with sleep, upstairs to bed. There's a love and support in those arms, always there, holding me up.
Then, in my mother's arms, I'm on a stool over the kitchen counter, wearing the apron she's sewn for me tied about my waist. Together we're chopping carrots and onions for a nourishing soup. A kind of magic happens while we talk, stirring the stockpot; fears are calmed, life lessons taught, hopes and dreams revealed.
In this homecoming, I feel relief not only for myself, but for my mom and dad as well. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be a parent, to let go, to release their children into the world, trusting that everything will be okay. No matter how supportive they've been of our journey, I know they are relieved to see us home once more. Mom and Dad, thank you for trusting us.
Wherever you wander, wherever you roam, be happy and healthy and glad to come home.My grandmother's Cross-Stitch