I always get a bit down on the last day of vacation. Tetris-packing the car, sweeping the sand from the floorboards of the old house, and stressing over the mountains of laundry we have dirtied and neglected over the course of ten-plus days. Reality is poised and waiting to hit me like a shovel to the face at home after the long drive in our dirty, smelly car. I often get overwhelmed and short with my long-suffering husband in the process.
So today, on that most hated of days, I decided to try something different. Inspired by my therapist who once said if I can’t change something I need to change the way I look at it. On our last beach walk this morning, I asked Dan what he was most looking forward to about returning home, and made a list of my own. Here’s what’s awesome about going home:
walking in Shubie Park with Lola
my cycle commute across the Macdonald Bridge
long soaks in my bathtub
my regular writing routine
reconnecting with friends and family
my well-stocked kitchen with all its gadgets and conveniences.
our lovely little bungalow, back deck, neighborhood, and life in the best city in the world, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
I’m also reminding myself to breathe and slow down. I don’t need to get everything done today. The laundry will keep til tomorrow. I can revel in some of the things I missed and maybe start a new tradition: a pizza dinner from our favorite joint instead of guilting myself into concocting a meal from the dregs of groceries, and some video games with my husband after a long soak in my own tub.
Maybe instead of mourning what’s over, I can celebrate what I have and bring some of that vacation magic home. Our life is beautiful and never to be dreaded.
Also, I wrote a poem. Because poetry always helps <3
The South Shore
There is a comfort in returning
every summer to the same place.
The rituals and time-honoured traditions,
The favourite stretches of sand
and ice cream stands
we make pilgrimages to.
They always oblige,
fulfilling the role we've cast for them
in our narrative,
providing those same old
tried and true orders.
Then there are the things I had forgotten
that I delight in relearning.
Finding golf balls during rocky beach bonfires
The sunset colours on the right side of the house.
And amidst all the comforting familiarity
there are surprises still—
Somehow new experiences every time
in these tiny towns I know so well.
The dirt road I wander down
reveals an unknown lake,
perfectly still and secluded.
The foxes play on the golf course
like middle-aged men.
Every year I find myself saying in wonder,
why I thought I knew you.
And the pounding surf answers
always, always, always,
but never, never, never.
Each year, we get reacquainted,
Both of us changed and familiar in turn.
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