Photo Credit: bitzcelt via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: bitzcelt via Compfight cc

“Sometimes in the morning, if there is rain on my window, I pretend one drop is our house and one drop is grandma’s, and I draw a path from our house to hers.”  My daughter shared this sweet thought with my husband the other morning.

When we moved here eight years ago, this town was full of strangers.  The other day my dad asked if this was home now.

Yes.

This is where we drop our luggage after a long journey, where we sink into the couch and sigh and let the cats settle into our laps.  This is where we’ve borne our children, where they sit for breakfast each morning and read the cereal boxes.  When we drill our phone numbers into their memories for emergencies, it’s this area code they recite.  When it storms, we look through these rain-sprinkled windows.

Our parents and siblings are spread now across five states.  We point it out to the kids on our colorful United States floor puzzle, families several jigsaw pieces apart but still interlocking. The kids don’t completely grasp distance, even when we measure in movie lengths or numbers of naps.  Their extended-family relationships have been shored up with video chats and holiday gatherings, with out-of-state trips, with relatives coming for weekends.  We’d love to see our extended family more, but we’re thankful for the way they make our kids a priority however they can.

We’ve made the hours-long journey to grandma’s house more times than I can count, celebrated birthdays around her table even if they’re a week or two away or a month past.  They’ve ran the span of her yard in superhero capes, rolled bocce balls down the slope of her hill, stood silently as deer made their skittish, graceful journey across her backyard.  They’ve scaled playgrounds with their cousins, ran laps around my aunt’s house, carved pumpkins on their grandfather’s back porch.

My daughter can’t navigate a map, but she knows the path between two raindrops.  Her fingertips trace the distance in breath on glass, knowing the people who love her are always close to home.