This one particularly, the one in which I’m now writing, our layover host-with-the-most near LAX. We enter it early morning, post-Sydney flight, and often leave it late at night, to return there. We’ve mastered its restaurant menu, grown familiar with the staff (at least enough for me to recognise some of their faces, I mean), know where all the good poop bathrooms are.
Still, when we arrived here around 8 am Saturday morning after a 14-hour trek across the North and South Pacific Oceans, The Kid made a declaration: I want to go home.
Suspended as we are between two of those, between two destinations, I asked him which home he meant. “Australia,” he answered easily, then provided our street address there, just to be clear.
“I do too,” I confided to him, even though that’s not the whole story. It rarely is. For I, too, want to be where things are most familiar and at-hand. And right now, that is likely our home in Sydney. But there’s also the house in Atlanta: our first home as a family, the place where we’ll welcome friends and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. The place that welcomed us, when The Husband and I left New York and got married, then brought home from the hospital two healthy boys.
Oh, New York. That’s another one. The place where TH and I met, where we’ll be returning next week, for the first time with the kids. Where my writing partner and I will promote a book two years (and two lifetimes) in the making. Where we’ll board a flight back to LA then remain in the airport for a flight back to Sydney.
It’s complicated, this trans-continental, trans-hemispheric, trans-season, trans-home life we lead. Complicated, and pretty beautiful, in between (maybe because of?) the messy bits.
The night before we left Sydney, I pushed a stroller full of Little Brother while TK walked beside us. Fuelled by champagne and friendship, I descended a hill overlooking the ocean and talked to friends while their kids ran ahead. We arrived at an evening full of kids dancing and parents eating/drinking/talking, and in my joy at this life of ours I overdid it, waking up the next morning hungover.
I forgot my wallet. Left it right on the table at our house in Sydney. My, and The Sis’s, first reaction? At least I have my passport in case I get carded.
Now we’re in LA, with a flight to Atlanta tomorrow. In this hotel room, we sleep, and shower, and screech at each other, and stay smashed together, and there’s something wonderful about it: waking up to these three favourite faces, this story of ours so ours, these moments known just by us. This childhood TK and LB are having. Lost in the day-to-day-ness of regular life is, often, the beauty of our stories. I relegate memories of how TH and I met to the recesses of my mind, choosing instead to wonder why he can’t close a damn cabinet. I forget the moments of the boys’ births when they ask a million questions and fight with each other. But here, in this room, we remember: we like each other. We are for each other. We are, always, together.
Yesterday we went to the Santa Monica Pier. Ugh. Beautiful view as long as you look to the left or right. As someone wise once said, it “makes Seaside Heights, New Jersey look like the French Riviera.” I looked up and saw the word harbor on a sign. “That’s not how you spell it,” I thought reflexively. “Where’s the U?”
This story is changing us, and not just our spelling. It’s stretching us, demanding more than we can confidently give, and forcing us to make space for grace to do…well, everything. “Everything” being the exact amount we can’t do. We are between so many places and grace, it is within them all, waiting for us to get there, waiting for us to come back, and just waiting with us, as we forget and remember and live the best parts of the story it writes.