The word always reminds me of the ketchup commercial and the accompanying song.....
Ann-tis-a-paay-shon....... you're maykin me wait......
(you're singing it to yourself right now aren't you?)
This is one sensation everyone experiences at some point in their lives. It usually builds to a point where your focus is centered around a specific activity and nothing else matters.
The anticipation of the birth of a first child, that first new home or car.
Your first job or your next job. Grandchildren and retirement.
The flood of light onto your living room walls from headlights in the driveway has increased your anticipation level and caused your voice to change to the next higher octave as you shout out to your spouse,
"They're here! They're here! the kids are here!"
Artificial light that spills out in front of the car hides the faces of the occupants from your sight. Your adrenaline is still raging until you hear the familiar voices from the darkness beyond the headlights.
"Grandma! Grandma....Grandpa!" (grandmas always get first billing...)
Happiness all around. The family is here and the anxiousness you were feeling is replaced by the indescribable heart warming sensation we call the 'warm fuzzies'.
The annual visit with family has finally arrived, along with the sharing of old and the making of new memories.
Your kids are home and all is right with the world.
The hours pass by quickly at first as you try to catch up on all that has happened since you were last together. Hoping and wishing that the few days together could stretch out longer for more family time.
The kitchen you used to knock around in by all yourself is now filled to capacity with the kids and grand kids. Baked family favorites cover most all available counter tops as the stories from years past fill the air, mixed with laughter and even a few memorable tears.
But that's okay, you are loving it.
The kids are home.
Tomorrow will dawn different. From out of left field, the strange, no the eerie sense of change and indifference starts to seep in.
You shake this off as just being tired and the stress from all the preparations for the family visit is settling in. All of the activity whirling around you is somehow not what you thought it would be.
Before long you realize that the empty nest syndrome you once wrung your hands over was not the adversary you once thought it to be.
Where had all the peace and quiet gone?
Deep down you are thinking you must be just a bit off your feed as your grandmother used to say.
Yes of course, I'm just tired and not used to this much activity. Again you think that tomorrow will be different.
Besides, the kids are home.
But the new day dawns with new challenges. The grand kids are chasing Alice, your beloved one-eyed, slightly neurotic cat up the 74 year old oak tree behind the house, where she stays until its dark.
The youngest of the grand kids is exploring all the cabinets and book shelves within their reach and asking "What's This?" over and over and over again.
Your normal clean and tidy home suddenly has that 'lived-in' look. A look you realize that you haven't seen in about a year or so...and the anticipation starts to build.
This round of anticipation though is paired with another set of emotions. Let's face it. You have become set in your ways and how you step through your days. You realize you want your world back.
Your quiet, your solitude, your empty nest.
Wait a second, these are my kids and grand kids and I love them dearly. Yeah, and you quickly reason that you can love them from a distance also.
And before you know it, the time together is winding down. The kids are loading up for the trip home. The time has flown by these few days.
Hugs and kisses all around. Grandma wipes at a tear, Grandpa tells them to drive safe and to call when they get there.
As you watch the car make its way down the drive to the road, you see the taillights come on and you realize that happiness comes in many forms.
This time it came around in headlights and tail-lights.
The phone rings. You can relax. You can start missing them again.
The kids are HOME.