I woke up to sunlight this morning. It was so bright, so early, and I couldn't remember whose bed I was in or which country I awoke in. Jet lag will do this to you, make your head spin so your brain feels like silly puddy in the hands of this great big earth. The house was quiet still, with the children all sleeping in and sleeping off our long day of travel, so that when I came downstairs in silent bare feet, only the man was there to greet me. The man, the sun and a good cup of coffee.
This is home. Ireland has welcomed me back when I wasn't sure she would. Our holey back garden grew into a lush pad of green and our dog slept outside our bedroom door to make sure we were here to stay. The pansies have grown in and the sunflowers have withered under the bites of a mysterious insect. And a very large spider spun a home in our laundry basket.
Our house is as we left it, nothing has gone astray.
I'm always afraid when we leave, afraid that I won't want to come back. America was a dream and all the brilliance of a packed three weeks of family and food made me anxious to return. We belong to both places and I'm never sure which side of the world I'll want to wake up. But on this fine morning I woke exactly where I wanted to be: in a squeaky bed with the 4-year-old by my side, the rays of an Irish summer peeking in on us before 5am.
The sun is gone now, temperamental as she always is. The coffee is gone, too; drunk from a new Starbucks mug that bears my first favourite skyline, my first favourite home. It was a wedding present from my sister to me, not the other way around. I drink it all up: the air, the flavour, the memories, past and present tense. The extreme, blessed luck to have not once place to go, but many - over and over, again. And the joy of having found a home.
Remind me next time that this is always how it is. Remind me how I'll wander and worry for a long time, but here it will always be. Here or there, anyway.