For the first time since our son was born, my husband and I decided to plan a holiday trip to Lincoln City, Oregon, to spend a long Thanksgiving break.
Lincoln City is a second home to my family. It has been since long before I can remember...
We spent our summer vacations visiting with my father's large extended family. Those are happy memories of time spent with my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and many cousins. People still loved; some now gone, all of us grown....
Lincoln City was our meeting place each summer for a family reunion of sorts. There was beach time and pool time, bonfires and fireworks in the sand, loud family dinners at a handful of favorite local restaurants we returned to each year... the building of traditions.
Then, we all grew older. The dynamics shifted. My grandparents died. Family members moved. My generation graduated from college, got married, found new jobs, and began building families of our own. New traditions were started. New family vacations were planned. That original group trip grew smaller and smaller over the years....
It might be sad, or maybe just bittersweet. These sort of things happen. I suppose they are meant to happen. Life changes. It is meant to change.
About ten years ago, my parents bought a house in Lincoln City, where my mom has lived semi-permanently since retiring a handful of years ago. My dad visits often -- whenever he can break free from work obligations for a few days. For them, the Oregon Coast truly became a home.
For us, it remained a place to visit -- a very special place to visit, though -- and we visited as often as we could.
Our last trip to Lincoln City was exactly five years ago to this day: Thanksgiving 2017.
I remember because I was pregnant. We had received the news of our unborn child's medical diagnosis the month prior to our trip. We were doing everything we could at that time to normalize our lives. We made the trip to Lincoln City because, really, we didn't know when we would be back again....
Five years later.
It has taken us a long time to make this trip.
And so much has changed in the interim. It feels like a lifetime has passed, and maybe, in one way, it has -- we are all different people. Life is not what life was, and we are not who we were.
Things are different, and yet, this place still feels like coming home.
This week, finally, my husband and I felt that our son was stable enough to make the trip, and we now feel confident enough in our ability as caregivers to meet his needs or, at least, respond appropriately in the moment.
It has taken us a long time to get here...
To this point in time -- of taking our son "home" to this place that has always been my second home.
And I'm so glad we did.