There is nothing quite like your own bed. Your pillow, the one that steals you for a quick Sunday afternoon siesta snooze. But everyone has that second home; that runner up place where you can still feel at home. For me, it’s either of my sisters houses. It isn’t the comfy bed I sleep in, or the smell of spring or Chelsea’s banana bread that’s so welcoming. It’s the people. And it feels like home.
In early March, I flew to Maryland to introduce Cosmo to my family and meet my new nephew, Charlie. COVID-19 was present in the US but it was just a topic, not a headline. I treated it like we were flying during flu season; don’t touch anything, wash our hands regularly. The virus took a turn for the worst 2-3 days after my arrival and I decided to cancel my return flight until it was safe for us to return. As I type this (and as you can see in GFTJ Instagram stories), my kids and I are still in Maryland with no confirmed return date to San Diego.
When the Navy sent us back to the California, we said goodbye to weekend visits and impromptu sleepovers with cousins. In what world would I have the opportunity to have this much time with the people who mean so much to me (during a deployment AND a pandemic)? This blessing is not disguised, it is clear as day that this is where we are supposed to be.
Marlo has been RELISHING in cousin time. The posts on IG are not staged or planned; that is real, honest to God adoration for her cousins. She follows the girls around and squeals with excitement when she is swiftly let into their bubble of imagination. I love watching her, watch Wells, show her how things are done in the country. She and Millie just watch each other and soak up what one another have learned in the last year apart.
Being able to share the first few months of Cosmo’s life like this is such an unexpected surprise; one that I’m thrilled beyond measure to be granted. Sharing him with family would otherwise be by way of FaceTime, but how does one smell his perfectly round head through a phone?
When it comes to falling into a new rhythm, I follow Marlo’s lead. No matter the setting I put her in, she adapts with (as Mian would say) a smile on her face and a song in her heart (probably ‘baby shark’). But now that I have been here well over a month, what was once a twinge of homesickness now knocks me over without warning. It’s things like peeing with the door open because I can hear the baby better or procrastinating house chores because it doesn’t affect anyone but myself that I miss. This time is my maternity leave; time that should be used to bond with my new sweet baby boy, nurture the relationship between he and Marlo, and learn/grow into our new family dynamic. If we were in San Diego, it would be purely that. It would arguably be far too much bonding😅😅 But in the season of transparency, it’s something I think about and struggle with.
A few days ago I had a deja vu that stopped me in my tracks. Chelsea was holding Cosmo while pushing Wells in the swing and I turned to find one of my nieces helping Marlo with a toy. I already saw that happen, somewhere in my dreams or subconscious, well before my trip out here. I am supposed to be here in Maryland, not alone in San Diego, during this history-making pandemic. It makes this strange time easier and harder and I wouldn’t have it any other way.