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Dread Coming Home
Mom with a View

Dread Coming Home

After being away 10 days, there is no place like home.


Whenever I've been away (this time on a 10-day mission to Prague and Israel) I dread coming home. Wait! That didn't come out quite right. Of course, I can't wait to see my children. It's everything else that is so overwhelming.

After 10 days of no cooking, it's hard to be thrown immediately back into the kitchen. This time it was an even greater challenge since on the last Friday in November we usually have turkey "with all the fixins" for dinner. And I didn't want to disappoint the hungry multitudes.

Then there is the dust. Looking around this smog-filled city (it's not perfect, but hey, it's home), it's hard to remember that Los Angeles is the desert. And desert means dust -- everywhere, all the time. A 10-day build-up...well, it's better left undescribed but not untackled.

There are also the bills to be paid, phone calls to be returned, emails to answer. To some frustrated callers, I tried explaining that I had been out of the country. But in today's world of instant communication, apparently that is no longer an excuse. I tried explaining that I was busy day and night with the participants from the mission. But that also fell on deaf ears. So I gave up and started apologizing.

There is laundry to do (Sarah Shapiro once wrote that laundry is like our evil inclination. Just when you think you have it mastered, it piles up again!), dishes to wash and schedules to coordinate.

And I have to throw out the three-week-old dead Shabbos flowers that have added a certain "je ne sais quoi" to our dining room table.

I almost forgot about the ants (despite the earlier description, I do keep a clean house -- really). We woke up at 4 a.m., jet lagged and in desperate need of coffee. When my enterprising husband turned on the coffee maker, hundreds (make that thousands) of ants came scurrying out onto the counter. Somehow a colony had taken up residence inside the coffeepot during our trip and literally invaded every element of it (necessitating adding a trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond for a new coffeemaker to the already overextended to-do list). It was a real phenomenon. Especially in the early morning.

But with all the work, all the stress, all the effort, and all the jet lag, I am glad to be home. I am grateful to be having Shabbos with my family in our home, at our table. With all the errands, with all the carpools and doctor's appointments and parent-teacher conferences etc. etc. (you know the drill), with the fights and frustrations, there really is no place like home. And with all the horrific and frightening news in the world right now, I am so grateful to be hugging my kids and sharing Shabbos with them. Although the horrifying impact was emotional and not physical, it is a time to turn home and I'm glad that my trip was over, that I could be together with my family. Of course, with real perspective and the massacre in India in mind, everything else seems trivial. And being overwhelmed is not even a small price to pay.

November 29, 2008

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Visitor Comments: 2

(2) Susan, December 2, 2008 12:52 PM

Life goes on

Your story reminds me that, life goes on while we are away. Being out of the country, out of town... My beloved boss just passed away, his practice is still open with loving chiropractors coming in to fill in for him. With our recent loss in Israel, it just makes it much more dearer to me. Having some semblance of dust and ants and patients who still need help are an added benefit to remember that life goes on.

(1) Anonymous, November 30, 2008 10:41 PM

Nice...but why is it necessary?

Who went on the trip to Israel? Was nobody home in the absence? Can't they help? I remember when I lived with my parents I went on a vacation to Israel. I came back and my parents had done my laundry. This was not asked for...they did my laundry because they did not want me to use the washing machine. However, I came home, jet lagged and exhausted to find the laundry thrown in every which direction all over my bed. I lost it...I absolutely lost it and I started yelling. I felt that I didn't deserve to come home to that. I told them that I felt it was hostile. My parents don't usually listen to any protests...however, the next time I went away when I came home I found the laundry on my bed in a laundry bag so that I could lie down before tackling folding and putting away. I appreciated the difference. My point is...if other people live at home there is no reason for you to come home to a disaster. I know that was not the point of the article but I felt I had to say it anyway.

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