We went to the UP mall, and like a crazy old lady, I told every sales clerk that would listen to me that I was happy to be home, and that we had just moved away after living here for 8 years and they so graciously welcomed me back. It felt good. After the mall we went to Dairy Queen where I used take the boys for an ice cream cone regularly and occasionally meet Brian for lunch. Of course we talked about how we used to do that.
After our dinner, we went to our house. I pulled into the driveway, and there in the window next door was my favorite neighbor and I lost it again. She was so excited to see us, and we were excited to see her. We visited with her for a while. I was telling her how much I hate everything and want to come back and she was encouraging and telling me it will all be ok.
Finally, I went next door and went into our house. Our yard was a mess. I always kept it as perfect as I could get it. I love that yard. Walking in as I have a million times over was surreal. It was empty. It no longer smelled like our house. It smelled as it did when we viewed it for the first time with the Realtor. I wanted to curl up in a corner and just cry. I did cry. That was my house and I wanted all of my belongings brought back and jump right back to our old normal. The boys ran through like maniacs. They were happy to be home. It was crazy to see Gavin running through. When we left he was just finally mastering walking. All of our precious memories from every corner of that house were flooding through my brain and it was so overwhelming. Nolan asked if we could bring our stuff back. That broke my heart more. The poor little guy just doesn't understand. I walked through and ran my hand along the walls as I cried and took it all in. I just kept thinking to myself, "this is my home and I want to come home." It was horrible.
We left and I mopped up the tears the best I could and we went back to my in-laws. As I laid in bed and, via face time, chatted with Brian about what we did that day and how it was back at our house, it was still all sinking in. I barely slept that night and was texting Brian in the wee hours of the morning all kinds of ridiculous drama over just about everything. I was still overwhelmed. He told me I needed to rearrange my flight and go back to California. That was the last thing I wanted or needed to do. I lounged around and did nothing the entire day. Somewhere through that day I noticed I was feeling better. It was like the storm of sadness within me had gone from an f-5 tornado to a thunderstorm warning. I hadn't snapped completely out of it, but it was as if it was covered by a band-aid. It was strange.
That following weekend was Mother's Day. Brian came to spend the weekend with us, and he was pleasantly surprised. He could see that I was feeling better. He told me he could see the old me in my face and that I looked happy. We attended mass at the Basilica Sunday morning. It was glorious! I love Mother's Day mass. Fr. Rocca always honors the oldest mothers in the congregation. He has all the mothers in the church stand up, (I have stood up every year since I was pregnant with Landen) and he then narrows it down quickly by asking everyone 50 and under to please sit down. Then 60 and younger, 70 and younger and so on. For the past years there has been this one woman that would always win. Last year when he asked what her age was she very quietly said, 102! I would always see her in the wheelchair pew with her granddaughter. This year, she wasn't there. I know we can't live forever, but I cried a little bit when I realized she wasn't there. I felt it to be ironic. Our time at Notre Dame has come to a close, as did hers. We sang the closing song. It was the last mass with the folk choir of the school year. They are amazing! We gathered our belongings and with heavy hearts walked out through the doors of the church. I thankfully had my sunglasses on to block anyone from seeing the sadness written all over my face. Though, when I looked back at Brian his eyes were filled with tears. We squeezed each others hand and hesitated for a moment. It sucked. We had three munchkins with us though, and they were raring to go, so we wiped our tears away and proceeded with our Mother's Day adventure.
Brian had consulted with the boys prior to leaving California about what to get me for Mother's Day. He said that they all came up with their own idea, and we had to go to various stores around town to get them. First stop was the Notre Dame bookstore for Nolan's gift. The walk through campus in itself was a wonderful gift. We stopped by the droopy tree that you can walk into like a cave and enjoyed our favorite spots on campus. When we arrived at the bookstore, they had me wait downstairs while they went to purchase his gift elsewhere. When they came down, Nolan was beaming and had his bag in hand. We went outside and I sat on a bench and opened the bag and it was a tumbler with the leprechaun on it. I loved it! I loved how excited Nolan was about it as well! I now have it sitting next to my sink in the bathroom and he still tells me he loves the glass he picked out for me.
Next stop was for Landen's gift. We needed to go to Target for this purchase. So, again, we went our separate ways after we entered the store. I had some things to shop for while we were there anyway. We agreed to meet in the Target Starbucks when we were done. When we reunited, Landen had a huge grin on his face and I saw a Target bag sitting at their table with a tinge of orange shining through. I knew exactly what it was. Reese's peanut butter cups. My absolute favorite candy. I can plow through a tremendous amount of them in a very short period of time, and Landen knew this. So in the bag was the mother load of Reese's!!!!! One 10 pack of individual wrapped standard size Reese's, one 2 lb bag of Reese's miniatures, and one bag of Reese's mini's!!! It was awesome. We cracked open the Reese's mini's right there! Gavin was drooling chocolate and peanut butter! We wiped everyone's chocolaty hands up and continued on our journey.
The last gift was from Gavin, and because he really can't throw out an idea, Landen and Nolan made a suggestion for him. I asked Brian what the last gift was because he had mentioned that I get to pick the last one. I wanted to make sure he was taking me to an appropriate store. I found this to be cute but extremely comical. Their idea was that Gavin needed to give me a new bra. I don't know if it's because I still nurse Gavin or what, but that was their brilliant idea! Adorable! So we walked down the sidewalk to Marshall's and I picked out a new bra! I was laughing out loud as I tried them on because I just found it so funny that they came up with that Idea. I successfully found a bra and my Mother's Day was complete. It was such a special day. Aside from the sadness of leaving church, we were all happy, and positive for the first time in a long time!
From that day on, it just got easier. As we spent much needed time with loved ones, watched Brian officially graduate from Notre Dame and made a few more visits to South Bend, my thunderstorm warning slowly changed to sunny with 0% chance of rain. Yes, I was terribly sad to leave family again, but I left to come back to our new home with much needed closure. I needed to really say good bye to South Bend and accept that life has changed. I am still not thrilled about where we live now, but I know it's only a short chapter of our life. In the mean time, as long as I am with my husband and my three bambinos.....I am home.