We returned home today after an 11 day trip to the Florida Keys. Our car racked up over 2,500 miles. Lots of sitting and driving in hopes of the perfect senior spring break for our son. The trip was a memorable adventure that will forever hold a special place in my heart.
But, now we are home. Home. That word makes my heart slow down. Invokes a picture of warmth and comfort. As much as I loved our trip and our time together, I am thrilled to be home.
Here are a few of the things I happy to return to:
my well worn spot on the couch with my end table at the exact height for me
afternoon coffee in the front room with the sunlight warming the air
Josie (my dog) lying next to me, snuggled up to my leg
my comfy blanket to cover my legs
the knowledge of where everything is in my kitchen
the ease of cooking with a gas vs electric stove
the familiar feel of my shower, water pressure, towels
I push open the exterior door to the school, step out into the fresh air and remove my mask. Loaded with my lunch bag, school bag, and usually at lease one additional bag (of books), I walk the 100 feet from my school building to my house. Crossing 27th Street, I attempt to shed my school worries and distractions, and put them on hold for the next 15 hours.
beep, beep, beep, beep, beeeep…I enter the door code and step into the respite of home. I find Josie asleep in the laundry room. She begins to stretch and roll on her back as a hello and request for a belly rub. My bags make their way to their assigned spots, often never opened and just picked up again the next morning.
I brew my afternoon cup of coffee, change into sweat pants, and give myself an hour to reset. Settling in to my spot on the couch, I catch up on the days events on social media, read the next few chapters in my current book, or write. Josie comes out of her lair and hops up next to me. She know our routine. This sacred hour rivals my morning time. I need it. I need this buffer between my school life and home life.
When the hour is up, I’m ready to tackle the next parts of the day. Usually a walk or some form of movement, working on dinner, and other household responsibilities.
What is your after school routine? How do you reset after a day of work?
Inspired by Leigh Anne Eck’s post about her porch, I got to thinking about the two houses I’ve lived in that have front porch swings.
Orchard Lane–It was a white swing with hard wooden slats. Not comfortable at all, yet I would spend hours on it, swinging and reading. I remember the creak the chain would make as I moved forward and back. I remember the prickly green artificial grass carpet as my feet slid back and forth along its cool bristly surface. I remember the way I would curl up on the swing, my body cramped into an awkward shape with my head on the wooden arm rest. We didn’t have central air conditioning, so in the summer the front porch swing was one of the coolest places to be. We lived a short distance from the library, so many afternoons were spent visiting the library and returning home to read on the porch swing. It might be a Judy Blume book or the next book in the Flowers in the Attic series. Hours would pass. Page after page would turn. I was so content on that white swing.
Franklin Street–It was a white curved wicker swing with a flowered seat cushion. I remember the sticky, clear plastic sleeve that covered the metal chain. I remember the grinding sound the metal links would make as the swing oscillated. I remember the painted concrete floor with a gritty sand texture that gently massaged my feet as I skimmed them up and back on the ground. Many afternoons were spent on that swing gliding my babies back and forth after they woke from a nap. The gentle movement as they got out of their post nap stupor, sipping at a cup of milk and eating some animal crackers always did the trick. As they began to lift their heads to look around, we would read from our stack of books. It was the perfect wake up call each afternoon.
My current house doesn’t have a front porch swing. Maybe someday I will again. Will I enjoy a cup of coffee on the swing with a book in my retirement? Will I rock my grand babies holding them close and reading them stories? I hope so!