Those who have followed this blog for a few years will probably drop dead when they see how big these two have gotten. Their older brother wasn't involved because he was too busy tucked away in a corner reading a 5th grade level NOVEL (he is in second grade). Or maybe you're dropping dead because you're noticing I cut eight inches off my hair. Either way, sorry you're dead now.
I've been back since Sunday (nearly a week!) and haven't had the words to explain the transformation I felt in going on this trip. I was nervous, anxious, depressed taking off from LAX. When I landed in Nashville, it was like no time had passed, but somehow I was my own person with my own places to be and tons of people eager to hug me. I've healed. Not only that, but I love Nashville now, the way I always should have, but wasn't allowed to. I got a chance to visit on my terms. I also got a chance to go downtown with my former employers (the parents of these children who I used to nanny) and developed a deeper love for this family than I knew was possible. We chugged Moscow Mules, ordered fried green tomatoes and guacamole, laughed about what absolute DICKS children can be. I made a hair appointment, lunch plans with friends, trips to the big Halloween store, and lots of down time playing with these beautiful monsters, who have turned into the most precocious, smart, hilarious children. I had a brief pang of doubt -- did I leave too early? Did I move home before I could develop a truer sense of judgment about my situation? After all, I had just made friends all on my own. Not the shitty, narcissistic users who only care about themselves / their nonexistent careers that I had been surrounded with while I lived there. But real friends, who have kept in touch with me through my move and my new life, who wanted to see me, hug me, hear about me, share a meal with me, and most of all, watch me succeed.
But I didn't come home too soon. I know that I had to get back here to get a sense of who I am again. I wasn't myself for two painstaking years. I think re-entering this city with a the distance I wedged between us made it all make sense again. Hindsight, maturity, et al.
I cried when Andrea and Avery dropped me back off at the Nashville airport. Avery, who miraculously remembered me, and had begged me to not go home the entire time I was there, rubbed her eyes with a squished chin and pouty lips, squeaking out a meek little phrase that will haunt me until I see her again in six months: "I want to go with you." Andrea, normally stoic and level-headed, had dewy eyes and a red nose, gave me a huge hug and told me to come back soon -- emotion I had only seen from her once before: my last day of work, where we all cried buckets and I felt my heart break into five small pieces that I had to leave behind.
I cried through the security line, and at my gate. I was tired, and I knew I would be.
I had never been sad to leave Nashville before. Even through the turmoil of moving home, the only anguish I felt in leaving was my last day of work (the evening before my move), and the morning of, when I stopped at a Starbucks off 440 where my friend Lindsay, who is from California, briefly worked. She handed me and Corrie our lattes, and even though I knew I'd see Lindsay soon, I took my final step off Tennessee ground and into my car, where I didn't get out to stretch until Arkansas.
Even flying feels different now. The airline that I used to regular now has live, streaming TV for free on their flights. WiFi costs have gone up from $5 to $8. Planes feel more packed, more dire. I don't miss the flying.
Eager to get off the plane at LAX, I made my way to the escalators by the Pinkberry and Starbucks, down those familiar hallways and through crowds of people I don't know but feel like I do. I was home again, whatever that meant.