A good mother (a better liar perhaps?) would write a post about how there is no place like home and there is nothing better than those sweet faces that greet you upon returning. And of course that is true. Of course it is. And yet...
On Monday we said goodbye to paradise. Palm trees swaying in the gusty warm breeze. White beaches and transparent blue water. Music wafting over to us from a pier that sat atop that water. Waiters who would bring us Pina Coladas with fresh cut pineapples clinging to the sides just because we asked for it. Temperatures in the 80's when you woke up, when you sat by the pool, when you went to bed. Blue skies and starry nights and time-- precious time-- together, with no one asking for anything save whether we wanted lunch yet or what our dinner plans were.
I didn't want it to end. Does anyone want to leave paradise?
The plane ride home was hard. Jarring. Real life awaited and I knew I would hit the ground running. We arrived home at 10pm and the very first thing I saw was a huge, hulking pile of laundry. There was a strange spill that had not been properly cleaned up and had festered a few days. We were out of the grocery basics. Work was everywhere I looked. I wanted to sprint back to what I had just left. Let's just say it was a good thing I couldn't.
Slowly but surely I suffered through re-entry. I ran the errands, and made the lists, and taught the class, and drove the car. But as I slathered aloe on my sunburn (a bit of advice: never say "Let's just sit in the sun for one hour before we go because I want to get a bit more sun" in Aruba) my heart was torn. This is real life. This is where I belong. I do not belong in Aruba, nor would I want to. And yet, it is hard to know that such bliss exists and then just leave it behind.
And so I am switching from gorgeous vistas to grocery visits. From waterfalls to work. From long insightful conversations to staccato bursts of necessary communication. From lingering to racing. From radio silence to constant contact.
I can't lie and say it's an easy switch. But the waffle this morning? The way its smell satisfied some deep part of me, the part that knows where I belong? It gave me hope. I won't always long for Aruba. Eventually, I will settle comfortably back into this life that is mine; the lingering longing will dissipate. And with any luck, I'll find paradise in my own backyard again.