After an amazing week in my childhood home catching up with family and friends, Dad and I went on a road trip to see my grandparents while almost everyone else went back to work (well, someone has to keep the country running).
As much as I gave him crap about it, it was actually really nice to spend some quality time with my Dad. We spent about 18 hours or so in the space of 4 days in a car, just us, with a broken CD player and intermittent radio, and aside from the time when I was sleeping, we spent the time chatting and catching up. I heard about 1000 jokes I’ve heard before, and I was told about 1000 stories I was told before, but it was brilliant none the less. It’s nice to see that some things don’t change and it was actually quite comforting. I miss my family so much while I’m away so it was nice to get a big dose of Dad before heading back to London.
While some things don’t change, some things do. One thing I will say to anyone who travels or spends a large amount of time away from their home country – when you get the chance you absolutely SHOULD visit family, especially your grandparents, and never take it for granted that they’ll always be there. C experienced the painful and horrible loss of his Nan not 3 weeks after our wedding a couple of years ago. We were booked in to visit and sadly missed her by a couple of days and one thing I know he really regrets is not visiting more often and not being able to say goodbye.
Similarly, I left Australia initially in a rush, thinking I would only be gone 2 years, and didn’t say goodbye to a lot of people that I took for granted would be there when I got back. And sadly, last year we lost my Dad’s brother which was a big shock and it felt really strange knowing that I would never see him again.
Thankfully for me, despite a recent fall my Grandma has taken, all three of my remaining grandparents looked in good health and seemed in good spirits and it was great to see them so healthy, happy and looking so well.
Aside from losing people, you don’t realise how much you’re going to miss out on in terms of things happening in people’s lives and most particularly the children you know. I already mentioned that my sister’s little girls have grown up so quickly and it was something that really shocked me. I remember when I left 4 years ago my sister said to me, ‘don’t worry, this is the best time to be gone because they won’t remember it’ but what you don’t realise is you will and every single memory while they are young is precious!
Similarly, I have cousins I am really close with who I spent a lot of time with before I left as they grew into young children and since I’ve been away they’ve become teenagers, or close enough to teenagers. It’s scary how much goes on in a child’s life and how many different things, that are really big for them, happen to shape who they are. I think you leave knowing on some level that they are going to grow up but on another level you don’t realise that time doesn’t stand still for you. In my head those guys were all the age they were when I left, but the hard truth of it is they have grown up and I’ve missed being a part of it.
As much as I loved being home for the ocean and the sunshine and all the things I missed about Australia, one thing I am truly grateful for is having a couple of weeks where I caught up with a lot of the people I love and I am sad there were so many I still didn’t get to see.
(If anyone objects to their photos or photos of their children being up on here please let me know and I will take down – thanks).