The unbearably hot day has faded into perfection. As the sky dims, it is perfect for sandals and tank tops and the humidity has given way to a pleasant breeze.
Neighbors, two houses, three families, so different, come together into one big family. The parents in their 30s with young boys - 1 & 5 - rent 1/2 of the older couple's house. In their 60s, so kind and generous - surrogate grandparents for all. The single mom in her 50s with a daughter, 12 going on 13. In other circumstances, who knows, but here they have their village.
As day fades to night, the kids play in the yard past normal bedtimes. From 5 to 12 to 60, monkey in the middle fills my ears with gleeful shouts, laughter & bouncing balls.
I retreat to the back stairs, after a full day now is my time to breathe. I gaze into the yard, looking at nothing really, until lightning bugs begin to light the night. I sit and wait for glow, blink, hover, wondering how a bug can possibly seem so magical. Past 8:30, birds and cicadas sing in the trees, chirps and tweets and the hum of the air conditioners in the windows all bring me peace somehow.
Lianna catches a firefly and shows it to the kids, and Sam hops up and down with excitement. This is nothing short of perfect, summer come to life before my eyes, and part of me wishes it was forever. Thousands fo miles from the place I call home, but I'm split in two because this feels like home to me too.
Traveling alone with two kids I won't have time to cry on the airplane home, but when I think about it now, I feel the tears welling up inside me. The country seperates us, families so widespread, and I miss my sister's dance recitals and birthdays, and when I visit she is the same, but different, every time more grown up. I don't like to think about how I am missing out on her life because it's just too much.
There are no easy choices. Wherever I am, there is someone to miss, some things become easier and some harder. I wish it wasn't this way. Tonight, I see what's in front of me, I watch my son play with his aunt, surrounded by friends and am sad we don't have this at home. I wish I could pack it all up and take it with me. I wish.
So I try to enjoy it now while I'm here, I sit, I write, then I put down the pencil and a firefly blinks and the light is fading and I am home, not home.