May 23, 2012

Coming Home and Waking Up

Coffee and Cake.  
Last Thursday, Ben and I return from a holiday in Scotland. We were gone for two weeks. Two weeks of Sunday mornings – sleeping in, drinking good coffee, eating cake, riding bikes, sharing experiences with friends, and making new ones.

I lost track of the days, of the time of day, of the miles and the workouts and the agendas. We played and frolicked and smiled. I smiled a lot. I let myself go. Go from the have-to’s and expectations; the self-imposed expectations that seem to be unshakable at home. I was free from schedules and bills and chores.

One afternoon, while Ben and I were enjoying tea and cake, looking out the window of a small shop on the high street of Peebles, he said to me, “I love it when you smile a real smile.”

A real smile? Are most of my smiles false? No, they are not false, but they are also not deep-down, full-body celebrations; free from hesitation and self-doubt.

As our trip began to wind down and the realization that we would have to pack our bags in a few days set in, panic sweep over me. I didn’t want to lose this feeling of freedom and joy and celebration. I didn’t want to pack up my real smile. I wanted to keep it front-facing. I wanted to come home and show it off.

So, I made a commitment to myself. I would not put my real smile in a suitcase, hiding it away until our next holiday. I would take it back to Bend with me, as a carry-on.

Re-entry could have been tough - with jet-lag, and work schedules, and the lack of tea and cake - but coming home to Bend was brilliant. We were met at the airport by a good friend. Our puppy, Piper, was eager to see us. Our garden was a vibrant shade of green and the sauna was waiting.

And, I am working hard to keep my real smile with me. As strange as it might sound, it isn’t easy. The daily routine could easily take over, the schedules and plans and obligations could sneak in and hide-away my smile. But if there is one thing I was reminded of on our Scottish Holiday, it is that life is brilliant and green and joyous, no matter the weather – and everything is better with good friends, dirty bikes, and tea & cake.