I never got too homesick during college. Washington State University was a manageable hour and a half drive from Spokane, Washington through some lovely wheat fields and plenty of rest stops along the way. Plus, with scheduled visits home over Thanksgiving Break, Christmas Break, Spring Break and Summer Vacation, I never had much of a chance to adequately miss my family or the place where I grew up. There was always that “next time” just a few months down the road.
However, since moving to San Luis Obispo, California in the summer of 2008, my trips back home have become much more few and far between. The tiny airport with significantly high ticket prices doesn’t help either. Every trip home or somewhere far away turns into quite the ordeal since we end up driving three and a half hours north before flying out of San Jose or Oakland. Sigh, I’m making this out to be such a sad story, aren’t I?
Sorry. I think pregnancy has been doing this to me. Lately, the range of emotions that I normally feel are now emotions on steroids. The summer season hasn’t been helping much either. This summer my mind has been taken captive by the Ghost of Summer Past.
Memories of long, sunny weekends out at my family’s cabin at Waitts Lake keep creeping into my mind mid-day…
The tackle shop with penny candy on the side of the two lane highway just a few miles before Clayton’s soft serve ice cream where forty-nine percent of the time my dad would let us stop and get a treat.
Fighting with my sister over who got to help grandpa stir the onion powder packet into the sour cream when making onion dip.
The taste of Squirt soda and how my grandparents always kept a decent supply on hand.
Hot afternoons spent playing rounds and rounds of Skip-Bo out on the deck that the men in my family built when I was three.
Sleeping outside beneath the stars on cots because the pull out couches put permanent cricks in your neck.
The fact that my dad was the worst EVER at applying sunscreen. He would always put too much in his hand and then wipe a streak or two of the cold stuff down our backs and shoulders without warming it up first in his hands. I hated that, and I would keep telling him that he missed a spot until I could feel my whole back covered.
Eating fried chicken and Jo-Jo’s on the speedboat between sessions of inner tubing and learning how to water ski.
Getting tickled until we screamed “Monkey’s Uncle!!!” at the top of our lungs.
Then with my mom, I have memories of hot summer nights in that little pink house…
My mom would set up two huge floor fans that would blast air through the house and we’d all just wear t-shirts to bed and sleep on top of our covers.
We ate lots of fresh raspberries thanks to the large raspberry bush growing up in our backyard.
I’d offer to mow the lawn and wash the car when I would get motivated to make a little extra money.
Once the sun was almost down, we’d drive over to Joe Albi Stadium to let our dogs run without a leash. Sometimes we would spend an hour just trying to get our German Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix back into the car – she loved to run.
My mom liked to sleep in late on Saturday mornings so my sister and I would always eat as much sugar cereal as possible before she woke up. During the week we were only allowed to eat healthy cereals like Kix or Cheerios, but on weekends we had a free pass to break into the Cocoa Puffs and Fruit Loops and we always took complete advantage of the occasion.
And this is just the mere surface of my reminiscing.
Maybe it’s because this summer I haven’t had much of a summer between the moderate weather and the amount of time I’ve spent indoors resting. Probably because I’m friends with too many younger people on Facebook who still enjoy summer vacations and post about all the adventures they’re embarking on daily. I’m thinking of de-friending all those socialites.
Maybe that’s part of it, but I think more of it is due to the fact that something about being pregnant really makes me long for my family and causes me to cling to happy childhood memories, although I’m not really sure why. I’m not even going to try and understand all the powerful and mysterious forces manipulating my body and my emotions during this season.
So more than any specific kind of food, I’ve been craving spending time with my parents. Nothing spectacular, just wanting to hang around with them and watch them help them cook dinner, watch TV, sit outside on the deck and snuggle with the dogs.
This week I started thinking of ways that I could pull off a three day trip home in August. A full day at each parent’s house is just enough time to say hi and bye with a few memories in between, but hey, at this point I’ll take it!
Gah, if only I could fly!