Yesterday morning I got up, packed a rather surprising amount of fibre into the car (and I say that as someone who is sort of hard to surprise in a fibre way) and drove like thunder for home. As a general rule, I am not someone you want to have come home to you. This family is used to the way it works. I get home, I'm exhausted from being away, travelling and whatever I was away for, and they all have missed me and been waiting to tell me stuff and have a list of things for me to participate in, and I stagger in the door just wanting dinner, a bath and my bed - and suddenly those two things can't exist in one space - someone who is needed, and a person who needs a rest. Throw in that I'm always looking forward to a home that operates the way I like it to (since I have had limited success converting hotels) and the family has converted our home that runs the way they like it to while I was away, and boom. Usually someone has hurt feelings and is brimming with resentment in ten minutes. The longer I'm gone the worse it is. I've been where they wanted to be (away doing fun things) and they've been where I want to be (home, doing fun things) and nobody can understand why everyone is annoyed.
Yesterday I got smart. I lay in bed in the hotel and I thought about how I could make it different, and only one word came to my mind. Generosity. I was going home, and generosity was the only way it could work. I would have to be generous with the people here. Walk in the door prepared to love them, and only them, and be here for them and only them, and that would be totally cool except for I was sort of tired.
I took a minute, and I got smart. To give them everything that they needed, I needed to be everything that I could be when I got home. I made a plan. I drank coffee in the hotel room, and I organized all my stuff. I made it super tidy and well sorted so that I could walk in the door to my home and let it all sit while I re-connected with these people. I planned the laundry, I put it together in one bag, I organized the stuff (wool) I was bringing home so it could wait. I sorted my receipts. I planned the whole thing so that the whole day was as nice as it could be for every person included, and darn it, that meant me.
I drove home. My extremely well organized self got in the car, and set a route and I took lots of space around me so that the person who arrived home wasn't a tired crazy person who only wanted to be left alone, but an organized, fulfilled person who was delighted to see her family, and was looking forward to cleaning up their mess. On the way home, I stopped at Niagara Falls. I've been there so many times, and it never ceases to fill the part of me that needs to remember the world is amazing, beautiful and bigger than I am. I walked up and down, contemplated the force and largess of it all, and then drove the last hour and a half home.
The difference was amazing. It would seem that this time, I learned what it was to arrive home with a generous, full cup, prepared to do nothing but give to my family - and wonder of wonder, I arrived home to a husband and family who had decided the same thing. The house was clean. Joe had taken the day off. He had a dinner plan.
I arrived, we unpacked together, we did laundry together, and I went for a run while Joe checked in with work, and then I made dinner while he tidied up loose ends. Then he cleaned up the kitchen while I visited with the relevant kids and sent the emails I needed to, and then we had an evening together while I knit and he drafted schematics. (I still don't know what that is, but it seems to be his version of knitting.)
I think that after years of trying, we might have nailed re-entry.