As I look back at my time visiting my family in Northern Ireland the last 10 days or so, I am thankful for the new memories that I've been able to add to my memory bank.
It is always nice to come back to familiarity. I am pretty sure I have eaten and drank my weight in tea and Cadbury chocolate!
In a few days, I will be heading back "home" to my husband and two older boys in Oregon. I am anxious to see them again, but as my time comes to an end, it is also met with some sadness. I feel like I always leave a little bit of my heart behind as I say goodbye again.
One of the things that has struck me during this visit is how important family relationships are, especially when loved ones live thousands of miles away. I have enjoyed being spoiled by Mum and Dad and having that little extra help with the baby. I was in need of a little respite time. Life had been busy over the last nine months with adding a new baby to our family and the transition of a new job for my husband. I was very excited to have a little change of pace and time to spend with my family.
One of the enjoyable things I was able to do while I have been here was go to afternoon tea with my sisters and their families. We went to a quaint little tea room with 1940's style music playing in the background. The waitress was wearing a costume; beautiful decor, fancy teacups, and of course, an array of delicious desserts and baked goods awaited us. We all sat and pretended to be posh and refined while enjoying the tea and company. It was a beautiful afternoon together.
I appreciated being able to catch up with friends as well. There is never enough time or energy to see everyone I would like to, but the ones with whom I spent time were wonderful and refreshing. I have found that with true friendship, I can just pick up where we finished. Such a blessing! I hadn't seen one of my friends for 12 years; even though life has moved on for both of us, I didn't feel like our friendship had changed. What a special blessing!
It is hard to live so far from family and friends, but these short visits always help to give me that little extra boost to keep going with my everyday regular life. As I get ready to pack up my suitcase, it will be filled with new goodies for my family. But that is not the only thing that will be packed full. My heart and memory bank is also full once again.
Jayne Gautreau is married with three children. Read her Mondays on Douglas County Moms.
I am pretty sure I have eaten and drank my weight in tea and Cadbury chocolate!