When I was 23 years old I returned home to my childhood home on Cape Cod with my 6 month old son in tow. I was going through a major life transition and needed a safe haven to regroup and my parents opened their arms to me. I spent a year there, working and raising my little boy with their help. My Mom, who although had MS was still ambulatory. She loved my little guy, as she later confessed she always thought she would have had 5 children…. My Dad was also an avid caretaker, perhaps not as attentive as I discovered one morning when he told me to sleep in- when I appeared an hour later downstairs my Dad was drinking coffee at the table and my son had constructed a sandbox with the kitty litter in the pantry and had redecorated the bathroom in an entire roll of wet toilet paper.
It was a year of growth and healing for me, I saw my parents from an adult perspective and watched them interact with their first grandson as only grandparents can. I realize now that beyond the obvious gift my parents gave to me, I gave them my gift of time, a chance to be part of my son’s first years.
Life is returning this gift to me…Some 30 years later, on the eve of the arrival of my two California boys it becomes clear to me that home is where your heart is. Last year I spent weeks in San Francisco with them as life had become turbulent. Despite the challenges we faced I loved my time there, not because it’s a beautiful city-(and it is!) but because my family was together. They are coming here as they transition into another chapter of their lives. I am grateful because the gift of time together, no matter the circumstances, is the greatest gift of all.