Tuesday represented the three-month mark for us. No April foolin'! As in, three months from Tuesday -- July 1 -- we leave England to head home. As in, blink and we'll miss it.
We'll take our time, relatively speaking in this day of fast intercontinental travel. We'll fly to Iceland and spend a night and a day there (Icelandair offers extended layovers of up to seven days for no extra charge). The next evening, we'll fly to Boston and spend the night there in an airport hotel with all our luggage; hopefully my family will come hang out a bit with us. Finally, the evening of July 3, three months from today, we'll be landing in Austin and coming down that big escalator toward some of the beloved faces we've missed. We'll be home for the Fourth of July!
Of course, before we can make it to the escalator and the fireworks and the other stuff, we have to leave here. Oh, what a difference six months can make! Three months in, back in late October, home seemed cruelly out of reach. I was fairly obsessed with all the people and things I missed, and so were the kids. We were ready to head home from our nice long sightseeing trip to England. In fact, Tim went home for a business trip around that time, and I was so glad I couldn't accompany him, because I didn't think I would have the emotional wherewithal to come back! Now, it's not that home has become any less dear, but just that this place has become more of a home too.
People get into your heart, if you open it up even a little. And unlike last summer, when saying goodbye always meant "See you in a year," it hit me the other day that most of the leave-takings that await us here will be of the permanent sort. As in, "Goodbye, we've loved knowing you, and we have no idea if and when we'll ever see you again." This is a pretty unfamiliar experience for me, and for the kids especially. I anticipate tears -- and not just my own.
(With some pals at Anglesey Abbey)
The challenge in a finite experience like this is not to project too much into the future chapter that is rushing toward you, but to stay present in the right here, right now. I know very well that in the blink of an eye, I'll be back pushing my cart through Costco (dazzled by the largeness of everything -- you mean I don't have to fit it all into my bike basket???) or sitting by the pool with friends, judging our children's crazy dive contests, or sharing a meal around the table with our extended family, and all this will feel very surreal. We'll slip back into the familiar, and probably wonder at certain moments whether this very different life we're living right now really happened. Did I really hop on my bike and cycle into Market Square to buy Swiss chard when I needed to get out of the house?
(Fun with friends at our weekly homeschool meet-up)
So, time to make the most of what remains. I hope that when the wheels go up at Heathrow Airport on July 1 and the lovely English landscape recedes beneath us, we'll be taking and leaving cherished memories, but no regrets.