I don't have the mental fortitude to sort through pictures and post them. We're back in the apartment, everything is going really well, but I'm mentally and physically exhausted.
I'll recount the vacation soon, but now I'd like to sleep for days. It's such a bittersweet thing, living here. N. was an absolute joy throughout the entire trip, and wasn't afraid of anyone he met. He made fast friends with both of my parents, along with my brother and sister-in-law, and didn't seem to mind when we left him with any of them as babysitters (it was harder on me). It was such a happy 17 days from start to finish, I'm so grateful.
The problem with it being such a success is that it had to end.
We left for the drive back on Saturday at 6PM (it's 17 hours with no stop, and we ended up doing it in 23 hours, but more about that later). Saying goodbye to my mother was so hard, especially since the baby was so good with her. I feel like such a horrible daughter, keeping her grandson so far away. She spent the day doing everything she could with him - diapers, cereal feedings, tummytime; I only got him back to nurse. I cried for the first 20 minutes we were on the road, and I'm sure she did too. We kept in touch by cellphone, and all she could say everytime we talked throughout the trip was, "I want my baby back."
And, just now, my dad left to get the shuttle to the airport. He's been amazing with N., moreso than I could ever hope for. He's a big man, and has always been afraid of babies, but he can't get enough of N. Both times he's left (this time, and at the end of his visit in June), N. has been asleep in his crib, and somehow I think that makes it harder. He leans over the crib, and I can tell he wants to look at that angel face for just a moment longer.
We're determined to get home for Christmas, and when you think about it, that's not too far away - we'd likely be getting there in a little over 7 weeks. But, I just know it's going to mean goodbyes again, and I don't know how I'm going to be able to do it. I'm grateful for my job, and I really do love my little apartment. This city, this community, is not, and never will be, my home, but the apartment is the first 'home' we've had as our own little family. I know we're a separate family unit, but in a way, there's a large part of us that isn't here.
It's at home.