Sometimes you have to go a long way away to really be able to clearly see, appreciate and find new depths of love for what's always been right under your nose.
I went to Canada last month for a friend's wedding - and I hated it! Not the wedding or the people or the country, but being away from home - away from my husband and darling daughter, my daggy but wonderful house, my job and my city. I almost willed time to go faster - and after celebrating another birthday while I was there, that surprised me!
I'm a big girl and have lived and travelled away from home many, many times. With some finger maths and head-scratching, I realised this latest trip to Canada was my 7th. I love the country and have been so many times I've emeshed myself into the culture, especially of my adopted home town and a very special family there. But this time I was so homesick, it almost physically hurt! I struggled to sleep, even though I was exhausted. I had an unsettled tummy - part rich Canadian food that my Aussie tummy isn't used to, but mostly due to stress/anxiety of being away from home. I was plain, old fashioned sad!
I was almost ashamed of myself for not being tougher! I would have thought I was made of tougher stuff than that! So many mums told me before I left for my almost-two-week trip, "I'm so jealous of you! You get two weeks of peace!" But I wanted nothing more than to be home with my husband and my daughter, with lots of noise and no peace or quiet! (Though, I did enjoy the first long-haul flight where I got to watch almost five movies back-to-back that I'd been meaning to watch for the past few years! That was wonderful!)
Without making anyone gag, I fall more and more in love with my husband the longer we're together. We're not perfect and we confuse and bug the snot out of each other at times, but he truly is my One. He's my best friend and he makes me so happy, and he doesn't flinch at the ugly or hard parts of relationships - messy family stuff, child birth and all the mess and guts involved in that - but nothing has cemented the fact that he's my One more than being about 16,000km from him for two weeks!
And how much I missed my daughter goes without saying. I burst into tears almost every time anyone asked about her while I was in Canada, so sincere apologies to the poor uncomfortable people who had a weeping Australian stranger to deal with! I'm not usually like that, I promise. I hate to fly, but I couldn't wait to get home so badly that I almost ran onto each plane! The closer I got to home, the happier and lighter I felt. I was getting closer to my family.
And my daggy old house that needs more work and love and facelifiting than we can afford right now - I missed it! I missed schlepping around in my pyjamas, the hall light that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't, the daggy old bathroom with an amazing shower head and instant hot water, and mysterious wood pannelling in the kitchen that I can't help but wonder what's behind it... I missed the whole bit - my neighbourhood, my city, the birds and sounds and the familiar light patterns at night... I love home. I love being home, and I had to be on the other side of the world to know that that's where I belong - at home with my family.
I will definitely be back in Canada at some point in the future, but next time, I'm bringing the troops with me!