I was so excited about this past weekend. I was finally going to meet my new niece Ella. And although this brand new baby was the primary purpose of our trip, I was mostly excited to bring together my entire family in its current form. My parents, two sisters, one brother-in-law, my husband, one toddler, and (now) one itty bitty baby. Our family is very quickly growing but this growth makes it harder and harder for us to all converge together. So, I was absolutely thrilled that this weekend would find us together, filling new rolls and old. One of us is now a new mother. Another a father. For the first time my husband and I are an aunt and an uncle. My son is no longer the baby any more and my parents are now able to call themselves grandparents to two.
Family. So much rides on that one little word.
Unfortunately, our trip was shortened considerably because of a winter storm that passed the night we were supposed to leave. The following morning, my husband woke up with what he thought was the beginning of a flu.
So Cameron and I left. Minus one husband. Minus one Daddy.
It took us about seven hours to travel the normally four and a half to my sister’s house. At times, I felt like we were stopping at every exit so that I could fix the boy’s movie, get gas, stretch our legs and have a pee, indulge in some food, or re-energize my incredibly sleepy eyes.
Driving alone with a child, even a child who was as well behaved as my son was, isn’t easy. (Thankfully, we met up with my parents before the last two hours of the drive, and they not only bought Cameron and I ice cream, but my Mom offered to drive my car the rest of the way). Even though leaving my husband at home meant not needing to hear the grumblings that always come when we partake in a long drive, and even though I had complete control of the radio and the heat, I missed him. I missed parenting with him and talking with him and sitting beside him.
When we arrived at my sister’s house, the house became full of family. Arms reached out to meet and hold the baby. My little boy ran around, playing with the new gift Nana and Papa had brought him. The table was set and dinner was prepared. There was so much commotion. So much perfection.
But as my parents snuck away to their hotel for the night and as I tucked my son into the crib that Ella was so kind to share with him (as she doesn’t use it yet), there was something missing. Watching hockey before bed is great with Nana and Papa, but it would have been extra special to have Daddy there. The conversation my sister and I shared before bed was so special to me, but I didn’t have someone to share the pride I felt over my son’s good behaviour in the car, how well he did around the baby, and how perfectly he went to bed. And as I pulled the blanket up to my chin in the basement of my sister’s house, I felt so alone – my son up a flight of stairs, my husband a province away.
In the midst of all this family, I could only feel the incompleteness in my family.
Walking into my little apartment after another day of joyful family togetherness and many more hours of driving, everything was better again. I didn’t notice the cluttered entryway or the messy kitchen. I didn’t bemoan the luggage that I would eventually have to empty. We were together again. The three of us.
I was home.
Even though I am slow and am having a hard time finding time, I am still keeping up with my Faces of a Family project (or at least, I am trying to). Today’s picture is a few days late, and I won’t even have posted last week’s photo until this one is uploaded. Be sure to click through so you don’t miss Week 3′s photos.