They ask me how Thanksgiving was and I say one true word: it was lovely. Not good or fine or ok– lovely. This place restores my soul like nowhere else can, to simply be surrounded by family and old friends with a dog or two curled up at my feet.
For me, returning home is a moment to come back, to loosen up the reigns of control I’ve been gripping too tightly, to steadily unwrap any tension coiling in my shoulders, my wrists, to interrupt the patterns of daily life I find myself a slave to.
Returning home can be difficult. It is all too easy to wish to remain there–safe and taken care of with warm meals cooked to the sounds of football games and chatter in the background. Home is where swathes of dog hair cover my pants and I hardly notice. It is where I wrap myself in sweaters smelling of my mother’s closet and take long naps in the armchair by the fire.
The air is dry and cold and my parched body aches for more water, heart hammering in the high altitude–but it is where I am from. Colorado and these four walls are sturdy so I no longer need to be.
If nostalgia was a thing it would be a bowl of water in my chest. It rocks steadily above my heart with little threat of spilling over. Sometimes it is warm, it is comforting, a memory of a time or place I can taste again while remaining safely removed. Other times it is cold, overwhelming, reeling with the desire to simply turn back time and tuck myself into that moment once more.
I don’t know if I fully believe we need to be present all the time. Sure, be here now with the people you love in the places you love, breathe deep in the scent of the air around you and the bite of food on the end of your fork.
But create space to let yourself travel vertically through time–to look back and look forward, to grow in excitement over what is to come while savoring what has happened before.
This past weekend I decided to be gentle with my body. Instead of doubling up my workouts and planning out spin classes to offset the Thanksgiving meal indulgences, I opted for gentleness. Instead of the heart-pounding music and sweat I found conversations and peace.
This year we walked the Mile High Turkey Trot, four miles of sunshine and blue skies and dogs everywhere. Janine and Will happened to be in town (yay!) so along with Janine’s bother they joined my mom, sister, dog and me for the four mile trek around Wash Park in Denver. To see the steps pass in laugher and joy rather than striving and calorie counting was refreshing.
Each day more dog walking ensued, accompanied by sisters and best friends from middle school. I closed the week with a Sunday evening candlelight yoga class with my mom, slowly moving my body through the flow, noticing the squeeze and release of my muscles in each pose. The lightness of my shoulders when we left. A brain for once headache-free.
Closeness is a funny thing. Relationships are cultivated over time, some quicker and cutting deeper than others. Sometimes they shift and they grow, other times they fizzle out or fade.
Nothing gives me more joy than being back with my sisters. Three of us together, spanning a wide range of skin tones and hair colors, dreams, gifts and passions. We used to fight, a lot. But something changed when we all left the house and scattered across the country. We grew closer, we held tighter. And now when reunited for a day or mere hours, we peel back the layers once more like there was no time apart to begin with. I’m now the truest version of myself when I am with them. Sometimes sloppy and messy and a little bit selfish, but pushed to become kinder, more nurturing, flawed yet whole. Funny even, and weird. I love it.
They make me laugh. They keep me grounded.
Cranberry margaritas. Twenty bodies around long tables throughout the first floor of the home. Faces lit in soft candle glow and stories from years past– it is Thanksgiving again, back with the families we have created and grow in year after year after year.
So much time has passed– but at the same time, none has.
I have a tattoo on the inside of my left forearm. It spans an inch and a half of the delicate skin there, right on top of the blue lines of my veins. It is fake but it lasts three weeks. I reapply when I need a reminder.
It’s a set of geometric lines– God is greater than the highs and lows, it means. I slide up my sleeve and breathe deep in the promise, the truth there. I talk about recovery a lot. I talk about healing. But there are still moments of darkness when I am reminded just how temporary each season is, how quickly the weather can turn and my stillness be shaken.
But there’s a greater foundation I stand on and like gravity it pulls me back when I begin to float away. Greater than the highs and lows. He is, he is, he is.