Too Excited to Sleep


I think I might have spent my whole life running away. I was raised as a wild child. There were very few rules in our house until one day my dad remarried, and certain incredibly unrealistic expectations descended like a pox upon our household. Expectations like: notifying my parental units about where I was at night, coming home at a reasonable hour, cleaning up after myself, and not having giant parties while said parental units spent the weekend out of town.

So, I moved out at sixteen.

I didn’t get very far at first. We lived in a small town in Manitoba. I packed a bag between classes and stashed it outside my best friend’s bedroom window up the street, in a house where I ended up staying until graduation.

Then, I moved to an itty-bitty apartment on the second floor of another house, roughly seven blocks away.

A year later I moved to Australia.

When I left Manitoba, I never thought I’d miss it. The first time I came home, I cried in the airport bathroom. I’d commandeered a very dapper Australian boyfriend while away, and would have stayed substantially longer if not for silly things like paperwork and visas. The drive home from the airport was bleak. The prairie sky was heavy and gray, the landscape dead and brown: a stark contrast to the eternal green of the tropics I’d basked in all year.

But, when I obtained a fresh visa and went back to Oz, it simply wasn’t the same. They say you can never go back, and in this case, maybe it was true.

So, I moved to my sister’s house in Calgary, Alberta. I worked in a pub, where I met my husband. We didn’t get together for a while, as I was still hooked on the dapper Australian and my hubby was still sewing a few wild oats. It wasn’t until his niece came to visit from Prince Edward Island that we got together. Being the gracious hosts of Calgary we were, we, okay I, decided to take her to the strippers.

I guess strippers have a way of bringing people together. It wasn’t long after that we summoned three hellions into the world and got married.

And then we moved here, to Charlottetown.

I was very lucky in Calgary. I lived a few blocks from my sister when we had our babies. Our first-born children are five months apart, and the second set of kids are four months apart. We were pregnant together. We raised our babies together. We talked on the phone eleventy-billion times a day. And when I came to PEI, it was like a rip or a tear in the fabric of that life. Talking on the phone with her became too painful overnight.

When my grandfather passed away a couple years ago, I realized just how far from home I was. I missed the giant prairie sky, the wind that sweeps through Portage and Main, and midnight slurpee runs. I missed the possibility of going to the store and running into people I went to school with.

And I missed the family I’d spent all my life running from.

Prince Edward Island is beautiful. It’s safe, and family oriented. It’s the perfect place to raise kids, and it’s close to my to my stepdaughters. But, I think that everyone who’s moved from home understands how heartbreaking it can be to be away when people get sick.  To be unable to drop by your parents’ houses to help shovel snow. To have to FaceTime at Christmas.

And, while I wasn’t exceptionally close with my mom in my childhood, I am now. I’ve been feeling the distance between us a lot.

I was two hours late getting home from work tonight. I had to deal with a woman on the phone who was very, very bad at her job. In the end, the situation we danced around wasn’t even resolved, but I was too tired and frustrated to stay any longer. I came home to cuddle the hellions before bedtime and a pour a giant glass of wine.

My husband was watching for me in the window, which was odd.

There was a scuffle of movement as I came through the door.

I went up to see the boys–and complain about my day to the man who puts up with all my complaints–and my mom was standing in the living room.

She’s been in cahoots with my husband the last few weeks.

Plotting to give me a heart attack.

Well the joke’s on them, because I’m still alive. I have my mom here a full week. My eyes are puffy from crying, and I’m grateful and happy–even though I’m way too excited to sleep.

31 thoughts on “Too Excited to Sleep

      • Aww!!

        Be sure to take lots of pictures at random-ish moments. You may look back on them later and discover they are able to transport you back in time to a very heartwarming occasion.

        I speak from experience. My wife wanted a picture of us from Italy to hang on the wall, and by scrolling through the old folder from 2015, I saw so many moments that just made me smile. Little random things my daughter was doing that absolutely cracked me up. She was four years old and she looked a little different, she acted a little different, and it was a great thing to be able to recapture that feeling.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. What a great surprise!

    I moved away from my hometown ten years ago thinking I’d never miss New Jersey, but, like you, I miss family dropping by and the random great conversations that are unplanned and fun. I miss the Slurpees too! My now grown children missed NJ so much they moved back! So here I am in one of the most beautiful places on earth sometimes wishing to be back in the rundown little town that made me who I am.

    This post hit home for me. Really enjoyed it. I love PEI!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is awesome! It’s a beautiful thing, how Time tangles its gnarly old fingers in the threads of family dynamics. What seems at first an impossible mess, somehow weaves its way into comfort in that patchwork quilt of familiarity. I, for one, feel truly blessed that your wild child self grew up down the road from me. From days of dolls to developing our own business selling lemonade on the side of #7 Hwy ( what were we thinking😉), I am glad I got to be part of your impossible mess. You are an awesome lady Miss JAllen!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How awesome! There really are no accidents in life… I never knew you were so close. I’m here in NS a couple hours away! I know what you mean about moving away from home. I’m originally from Maryland. This puts me 1,100 miles (a 20 hour drive) from my parents and family. I miss seeing them and helping them and being around to take part in their lives. Love this story with such a happy ending!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Why did I think you were Australian?? I was way off!
      When I lived in Calgary I used to drive to Winnipeg every once and a while. The 14 hour drive was so worth it. Now, the drive would be substantially longer! And hilly. I love flat land driving, Haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Where I’m from in Maryland is pretty flat, too. Tons of dairy and chicken farms and crops. Oddly, I miss the smell. Nope not Australian. I’d love to go there, though!

        Like

  4. Aw! What a wonderful surprise. I know what you mean. When I left home I thought I would run off and never come back. Fortunately for me, my mom and sister chose to follow. Have a great time with your mom!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My family all migrated from California to Washington because we didn’t want to be too far from each other. I lived in Tampa for a bit but didn’t even make it a year before being homesick brought me back.

    Enjoy your time with your mom!!

    Like

  6. I love your sense of humor – something I’m working on. Having grown up in a military family, home was many places. Now, it’s anywhere with trees and water, where I can see the stars at night and feel loved. Thanks for the follow!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a great post! I gotcha re. separation… I’m a New Brunswicker currently living in France. As cool & ‘exotic’ as that is and I like it for the most part… It all paled in comparison when, last year, I had to put my mom on a plane back to Canada after her two-week visit. …. “Exotic – shmexotic” … That day I really didn’t like living in France. Enjoy your visit & I echo Dan’s comment above… Take LOTS of pictures!! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

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