Maia and I landed in San Francisco 20 hours after leaving Brisbane and within an hour we were pulled into the whirlwind of a homecoming—which is why we’ve been so quiet. But as each long-awaited reunion becomes a memory, and we get passed on to the next group of friends and family the moments we spent together run around my head.
|Danielle's Bat Mitzvah--three days of fun with lots of chances to catch up with oldish and older cruising friends|
There is the savouring: the feeling of being met at the airport by someone we dearly love and being whisked away to more hellos, a sensation that is best described as an all-enveloping hug. But there is also the bittersweet: watching the way our friends go on without us, seeing our place in their lives and community become reduced to an anecdote about ‘that far-away family’.
|50th Wedding Anniversary--Ev's parents have gone the distance and had a lovely party to celebrate|
We came home to San Francisco and then Vancouver for many reasons: to see our beautiful Danielle from Whatcha Gonna Do transform from a quirky cruising kid with an ever-ready smile into a gorgeous and gracious young woman whose wisdom (so much of it a credit to being a sailing kid) took my breath away. Her Bat Mitzvah was such an honour to attend—both Maia and I were enthralled. So much so that Maia asked if we could be Jewish.
|summer in Vancouver is a wonderful thing--we're savouring|
We also came home so Maia would know she has a home. Yes, the boat is her home, and wherever it is, is her yard. But I’m also a believer in roots. Eventually she’ll choose her own place in the world—but I do want her to know there is a place that she comes from: A specific, tangible place with memories that are just a little stronger and faces that are just a little clearer than all the other ones that populate her life.
And I need it for me. I need the kitchens in my life where I know where the wine glasses are and the tables filled with friends where the conversation doesn’t need any preamble and who are certain we “really haven’t been gone for three years.” I need a picture in my mind when I speak of home: a glittering city, mountains, densely green trees, a grassy neighbourhood park, well-loved faces.
|Annual block party in the old neighbourhood--we caught up with friends and were entertained at the talent show (sorry Jen, couldn't resist)|
There have been echoes of our past life all around us as Maia and I have explored our old neighbourhood and favourite haunts. At Granville Island we kept watch for old friends and both found ourselves looking for a family with much littler children than the ones who arrived. We could almost see ourselves as we were as we passed playgrounds and shops. When we saw familiar shopkeepers we thought about popping in—just to see if they recognized us too.
But three years have slipped past. The kids are bigger, the neighbours have changed and we’re now introduced with an explanation: We’re the family that used to live here but went far, far away.