Ain’t it Good to be Back Home Again…

Jennifer and I drove back this morning from our weekend in Eastport. Eastport is one of the most beautiful places in Newfoundland, which by default makes it one of the most beautiful places in the world. I have been going out there in June for the Writers’ Guild retreat every year since the early 90s; it’s a cornerstone of my year and the way I know summer has begun.

What did I do out there all weekend, you may ask? (other than visit the internet cafe?) Well, I slept late every morning. I took naps during the day. I read almost all of Philippa Gregory’s The Constant Princess in several long sessions of reading without interruption. I walked on the beach several times, and yesterday, when we got some hot sunny weather, Jennifer and I did some bona fide laying-out-on-the-beach. No swimming, though. I attempted it several times but the numbing pain of the icy North Atlantic would not allow me to get in any deeper than my knees. It was enough. I’ve been in the ocean; it’s officially summer.

Yes, I did a little writing — I wrote one essay that I’m quite happy with, and half a chapter on my fantasy novel which I’m trying to get my head back into. I enjoyed lovely relaxed evening workshops with the Guild women, and great potluck meals. And I relaxed … totally and completely … which is a rare experience for a busy teacher and mom of two young children.

Then I got back home, and Emma came tearing over from Aunt Gertie’s house next door and threw herself into my arms. “I missed you so much!!” she said over and over. Then she insisted I come downstairs where she performed a dance with scarves and a song she had written for me. I can’t remember all the lyrics of the song but it was along the lines of:

You’re the best Mom I ever knew
And I should know…because I’m your girl
You’re the best Mom I ever knew
And I give thanks…to yooouuuuu!

Christopher showed up during the concert, a little less effusive about the joy of seeing me again, but still apparently OK with having me back. He contributed a few instrumental pieces to the concert and then asked if we could take our lunch as a picnic to a park.

So we spent the whole afternoon in Bowring Park, the kids playing in the playground while I read the last few pages of The Constant Princess, stopping approximately three times per page to answer cries of “Watch me, Mom! Watch me! Can you lift me up here? Can you give me a boost? Watch me! Watch me!” We walked to the duck pond and saw the ducklings and cygnets and we petted some dogs and talked and laughed and had the obligatory argument about how it couldn’t be time to go home.

I’ve loved lots of people in my life, but honestly, none of them has ever felt the need to compose a song in honour of my return from a three-day trip. Nor does anyone else so completely rely on my attention that they need me to watch what they’re doing every single second. I figure I have a couple more years to be the centre of their universe and I’d better enjoy it while it lasts.

Bottom line? When your kids are six and eight, it’s hard to know what’s better — going away, or coming home!

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