I don’t enjoy trips to Georgia. My husband and I both grew up there, went to college there, and spent the first years of our marriage there. But since moving up to Richmond, VA two years ago, I have felt more at home than I have in years. Part of it is that we bought our first house here, so for the first time I am living in a home that I own. That gives the word “home” a whole new meaning.
But another part of it is emotional. After my dad died, the house I grew up in just wasn’t the same. My mom sold that house in 2006, and has since re-married. So when I “go home” to Georgia, I may be going to a city where the streets are familiar, but everything has changed. The house I go visit my mom in has no emotional connection for me. The man she married is not someone I enjoy spending time with. I don’t like that my son will have a relationship with my mom’s husband instead of my father. Most of my friends have moved away. My siblings live in different places. The only person still in that city is my mom and my husband’s family. Those factors, along with some underlying family tensions, make going to Georgia a stressful event, and only something I can handle for a short visit.
It’s different for my husband. When we go to Georgia, we go back to the house he grew up in, to both of his parents. We even sleep in his room that looks exactly the way it did when we were in highschool, childhood trophies and all. His entire family is from Georgia, still lives in Georgia, and will always live in Georgia. I adore my father in law and brothers in law, and my mother in law is very nice but we are so very different. Going to visit my husband’s family is fine, but it is not my home.
Since we’ve moved to Virginia, Georgia trips have become an incredibly stressful part of my life. We happened to move here during the time when both of my siblings, my cousin, and my best friend have gotten married. There have been multiple showers, weddings, and events that I have had to attend. And they are all in Georgia. Due to my husband’s schedule, he can not come down for everything. I have been going down to Georgia three to four times a year since we moved up here. My husband only goes about once a year. So for more trips than I can count now, I have traveled alone with a toddler and no husband.
Everyone loves to help with my son, and although family members can entertain him, no one else could nurse him (in the earlier days), or put him to sleep, or dress him, or discipline him, or comfort him when he cried. Traveling to a place you don’t like going four weeks out of a year without help from your spouse is physically and emotionally exhausting.
This trip was for my cousin’s wedding. It involved picking my sister up from the bus stop (she lives in Washington, DC) and driving down to Georgia on a Wednesday, spending all day with my husband’s family on Thursday, driving to Alabama for the rehearsal dinner Friday, going to the wedding Saturday, driving back to Georgia Sunday, spending time at my mom’s Monday, then driving all the way up to Washington, DC Tuesday so my sister could go back to work and the toddler and I could finally drive back home on Wednesday. When I promptly crashed.
The toddler and I had a day and a half of more errands, more laundry, and more house straightening. Then my mother in law arrived Friday for a week’s stay.
June has been a whirlwind, and it is still going. But I will try to be more present in this space and try to be more aware of the joys of my life rather than the stressors and busy-ness that has encompassed me lately.
I am so very glad to be home, and will continue to look forward to July when our home becomes just ours again, and when this pace of busy and stressful returns to a pace of slow and peaceful.