Clare, Erin, and I spent the past weekend visiting our grandparents in West Virginia.
When I awoke this morning, I read in my morning prayer book about coming home. About taking a drive through your old neighborhood or seeing your old high school and feeling like you were coming home. This visit felt like coming home to me. Even though I was seven years old when we moved from W.V. to Rhode Island, the mountains must be in my blood and bones. Taking the walk from the house to the cottage (which I personally did about 100 times this trip since I forgot to bring the baby monitor and kept walking to the cottage to check on Clare while she slept) was such a familiar feeling to me. Driving up the incredibly long driveway felt like I did this every day. Even Erin commented that she kept experiencing deja vu. In some ways, it was like we had never left, and we just melded right back into the way of life on the farm.
We had a very peaceful visit with my grandparents. It was our last hurrah there before they move from their incredible farm into a house in town. As kids, we spent summers down in W.V. on the farm. My grandfather would take us to target shoot with rifles and bow and arrows. We would go horseback riding. We would stay up late playing cards or Mastermind with my grandmother. Hikes in the woods, bonfires and camping out on the Point, feeding the huge catfish in the pond, swimming (and playing beauty pageant) in the indoor inground pool. We often visited at Christmas as well. The farm covered in a blanket of snow during the winter is breathtaking. All us grandkids would dress warmly and go hide out in the snow so my grandfather and his German Shepherd Heidi could practice their Search and Rescue. All my memories run together of what an amazing place the Campbell Hill Farm has always been. It has been our vacation destination for 20 years.
We weren't able to get down to W.V. last summer with all the craziness over Clare's multiple hospitalizations. It was very special to me then to take this one last trip with Clare. I liked being able to show her a piece of my childhood, a piece of me. Although she will never remember any of it, it feels right to share it with my children. Jamie last saw the farm when he was 17 months old, so he won't remember it either. My grandparents had not seen Clare for over a year, so they were delighted (and instantly charmed) by her sweet personality. Clare was fascinated by the new scenery around her. Although she was scared of the horses, she loved playing with their hay!) Despite the exhausting 10.5 hours it took us to get home (which should have been a 3-hour trip, but there were many weather delays), our visit with our grandparents was relaxed and uplifting.
The best part about going away? Literally - coming home. When we finally landed around midnight, the two sweetest boys were waiting for us. How precious to be greeted by a little (sleepy) blonde guy who instantly wound his arms around my neck and kept repeating, "I missed you, Mommy." As great as our trip was, I knew then that the feeling I had about coming home in W.V. was outshined by the feeling of coming home to my family.