The greatest sense of anticipation I've ever felt about returning from a vacation was after our honeymoon. We had a fun and memorable visit to Margarita Island, but it was strictly a do-it-yourself kind of escape – we were staying at an isolated villa; research before we left had yielded very little information about the surrounding area; and since this was pre-Internet, we spent a large percentage of our time there scouring maps and trying to figure out what was worth seeing and how to get to it. By the time I buckled my seat belt for the flight home, all I was thinking about was the kitchen full of new appliances and accessories given to us as wedding gifts that I couldn't wait to start using.
I'm a little bit sorry to say that my sense of eager anticipation about returning home from travels has steadily decreased over the years. I still love my coffee grinder and my stand mixer, not to mention my home itself, and our community, and our many friends who live nearby, but it seems the more time passes, the more obligations await me upon the return from any trip: work assignments, kids' activities, household tasks.
Yes, I missed my own home-brewed coffee and sleeping in our own bed. I missed the dog too. But it was also so great to get away. A week at Disney World isn't everyone's dream, and truth be told, it isn't really Rick's and mine either: we did it because Holly insisted if we were going to plan a family vacation anyway, this was the destination she most wanted to experience. On some level, we adults went just to cross it off the list so that we could go somewhere else next time.
But these days there are always things I'm happy to escape from at home. No dishes to wash when we're staying at a resort. No activities to plan when you're at Disney World. No meals to host or events to organize. We were truly at leisure.
Now we've been back for twenty-four hours and it's re-entry time. I have existing assignments to finish and new ones to start. The kids and I need to go shopping for school supplies. They have doctor's appointments before school begins in two weeks, and I have at least three household projects I really wanted to complete before the summer was over.
Not surprisingly, it's good to go away and good in other ways to return. I still remember what it was like to walk into my childhood home after one of the month-long trips out west that we used to take every summer while I was growing up. In the August humidity, the house smelled dank, but there was something exciting about it as well: it was a smell reminding me that summer was ending and new things were about to begin.
Every house that has been closed up for a week in August has its own distinctive smell. Arriving home from the airport yesterday, we were quick to open windows and turn on fans, but I was still happy to take a moment to absorb the home-from-summer-vacation smell of the house. I may not be quite as excited about meal-planning or organizing the placemat drawer as I was when I returned from my honeymoon, but fall still means that new things are about to begin. I have about a week to re-organize, and then a new season gets under way. It's good to be home.