Last month was the second official trip back to Arizona since Dad died.
I didn't really know how it was going to affect me, but returning "home" a few times a year is something that I vowed to do when we made the decision to move. My kids need it, I need it. It's good for all of us to see our many family members that live there, and it's important for us to connect with our dearest friends when we return.
That doesn't mean it's easy yet. Maybe one day, but not yet.
The drive was easy. Forrest is my ace, my co-pilot. The kids (despite the inevitable fighting that ensues in close quarters for long periods of time) are actually road trip rockstars. We have the 11.5 hour trip down - streamlined. Break it up over 2 days - stay at a nice pet-friendly hotel - everyone is happy. Totally manageable. If I had a baby, it would look very different. But the kids are currently at great ages to be helpful and understand Mommy's process with the whole thing, and it's good. The kids get to watch movies, and play games in the back seat after the first stop, but until then, it's sibling togetherness while they look out the window and play with whatever toys they INSISTED on bringing with them. I get to listen to my beloved iTouch, and sing along to whatever the heck I want to, all while Forrest is sleeping on the makeshift bed I have made for him in the front seat.
Driving for me is therapy. But only when I am in the driver seat, listening to my jams (jam #1, jam #2, jam #3 - random sample) and the backseat is happy and calm. (If I am in the passenger seat, I am sleeping.) So at least 1/3-1/2 of each drive is therapeutic. But that's pretty good - I'll take what I can get!
This trip back, it was important to accomplish a few things:
*Quincy wanted to see big cousin Kellan AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE (this included a couple sleep-overs, and 3 little league baseball games)= ACCOMPLISHED
Needless to say, we tried to fit in as much as we could into the short time that we were there. I am grateful for the extra time I got to spend with Natan, Larel and my nephews - we are trying to maximize each visit until we see each other again - and I know the kids had a blast being reunited again. Going back to AZ is essential for filling my heart, and fueling my soul, but on the drive back I realized just how excited I was to get back to my life here in the East Bay. It felt good to have that epiphany - it assured me that I am truly enjoying this beautiful new place that we call home.
Since our return in May, I have been busy engaging my kids in the political process, educating them on the importance of this year and how elections work. Quincy learns a little about it at school as well, but since Paloma is only in school 3 days a week, she got to be Mommy's sidekick while I volunteered with the Bernie Sanders campaign to register voters at UC Berkeley's campus.
A week later, Paloma and I drove to Stockton for the Sanders Rally - it was exhilarating to be surrounded by thousands of peaceful and passionate people coming together to listen to Bernie's ideas.
Sasa came in town for a quick visit, and we enjoyed every second!
Solon continues to work hard in his new position. I am so proud of him for the work he is doing, and the life it is providing for us. His courage and desire to take this chance, has opened up a world of opportunities for each of us - to learn and try new things - and ultimately, to grow. We have enjoyed a couple date nights over the last month, and have discovered some absolutely delectable restaurants within a mile of our house.
Life is good.