the sign didn’t wait. didn’t wait till i got home, shoved open the door, threw down my bags, ran poking my head into rooms, searching for the faces i’d missed so very much.
nope, the sign came to me. the sign, and the boys, and the hearts that it completely spelled out.
they were there in the driveway of a very old friend, a dear friend who shared a cab from the airport.
as the cab pulled close, i saw the old wagon, waiting there in the driveway. and then, before i could scramble to throw on my backpack, the one with the sign leapt from the door where the driver sits.
he just stood there, beaming, holding the sign for all the world to inhale. and i did, believe me. exhaled too, finally.
you see, i’d been holding my breath for weeks really. holding my breath for all sorts of reasons, not wanting to leave home in the first place.
but the minute my eyes, and my heart, took in that sign, i knew what i know more than anything else in the world: i was home, am home, completely home with a man, two boys, and a cat.
a man, by the way, who is 50, but not too old to walk down to the basement, dig into the art supply cupboard, haul out the markers, the poster, and put words and primitive art to paper.
how, i ask you, can a girl who’s been holding her breath so long and so deeply her lungs might cave in, not be over the moon for a man who pulls up to the kitchen table, sits like a schoolboy and scribbles orange squiggly sunshines? and not only one, but a perfectly matched set?
sometimes in the to and the fro of the everyday, in the tangled schedules, late trains, missed meals, you can forget, lose track, lose hold of that place in your heart that knows it has carved out a very safe home with a heart that now makes it whole.
but then, not too proud to stand in the driveway of strangers, the owner of heart up above leaps from the car, boldly takes hold of a sign he’s not shy to show.
we all melted. every one of us who saw him standing there.
it’s why, i would tell my dear friend looking for answers to why marry. it’s why i went for the free fall, into a place i didn’t know but trusted would make for safe landing.
and there he was, in the driveway, holding a sign, and once again and again, the landing was oh-so-safe, oh-so-soft, oh-so-sweet.
coming home, i realize, can only happen by going away. you only can feel the cushion of sinking back into softness if you’ve left in the first place.
it is not a bad thing, not at all, to look in the eyes of the one you so love. to see his hand all over the silly stick drawings. to take in the orange and the blue and the green of the crayola washable markers.
thing is, we often make signs around here. we are a sign-making family. and a note-leaving one too. before leaving i’d tucked notes, like autumn leaves on a sidewalk, all over the house. wherever i thought they might peek, i’d left a post-it. in the fridge. in the pantry. on pillows. under pillows. even in a soccer shoe.
it is a sweet thing to be in the business of leaving word trails, and welcome home signs. to tell the ones who you love, in all sorts of colors and scribbles, that the words that are put onto paper are the words that spill from a heart that knows the unshakable truth: you are home in a place where the people you love can’t keep from spelling it out.
this is late this morning, so sorry. fact is, this landing was not only safe but exhausting. while i settle in, tell me a tale, if you have one, of sweet homecomings of which you’ve been a part. bless you to every one of you who crossed fingers, whispered a prayer for a safe and a solid return. xoxo