“This may sound strange, but it feels like we’re almost home.” Howard said at the end of more than four hours of driving. We’d traveled south from our house, made a stop in Goblin Valley State Park and were only minutes away from arriving at the rented condo in Moab.
“It doesn’t sound strange at all.” I said. “I’ve been feeling the same thing.”
This is our fourth year spending spring break at a condo in Moab. We don’t always get exactly the same condo, but it is the same complex with the same swimming pool, pond, stream, and park. I remember our first arrival. I was so tense because we’d never rented a condo before and I was terrified that it would be a huge mistake. The kids pinged all over the place and we were constantly telling them “don’t touch that, don’t jump there, be careful, we’re only renting this place.” It got dark and stormy that first night and Kiki was in tears because she just wanted to go home and be in her own bed with her kitty. We ended up calling the neighbor who had the cat meow into the phone for us. I hardly slept that first night, my head full of stress trying to make sure our vacation would work and stress because work email had followed me and I knew we had looming deadlines.
The next day we visited Arches and started to have all the things we hoped for when we booked the trip. Two days later we were happy to go home, but all of us wanted to come back. So we did.
We’d only driven a mile or so further when Gleek piped up from the very back of the car. “It feels like we’re almost home!” Howard and I laughed.
We pulled into the familiar gravel drive with the rocks popping under our tires. I directed Howard to unit 2, which will be our home for the next three days. We waved at the park and pool, knowing we’d go there soon. The kids all jumped out and quickly unloaded their packs. There were no arguments about who would sleep where, the kids just claimed their preferred beds. Then Howard and I sent them outside to catch fish in the stream while we did our survey to figure out what cooking implements this kitchen had and lacked. There was no need to follow the kids to make sure they were safe. We all knew the safety rules and boundaries.
Link wandered through on is way out to the back patio. “I like this place.” He said. I smiled. Link is not a person who is relaxed or happy if he is uncertain about how things will go. Coming to the condo removes so much of the stress from vacation because we have familiar patterns to fall into. There is real value in going new places and seeing new things, but there is joy in the familiar too. I watched Link, Gleek, and Patch swimming in the pool. The three of them were playing a cooperative game in a way that they rarely do at home, but they always seem to do when we’re here. It is as if the game waits for them along with the pool and the stream. I watched them as bees buzzed in the wisteria behind me and I breathed the scent of the blossoms. It is so lovely to go on vacation and feel at home.