Thursday, 23 December 2010

The Long Road Home

"Granny is going to be snowed in for Christmas, isn't she?" said The Small One anxiously when I'd finished on the phone. "She can't get to Little E's house and neither can we and Christmas will be all wrong."

"Well," I said carefully, "she's safe and warm at home right now, with lots of people ready to help; and if we can get to her, we will. Our car is good in the snow."

"Will it be on the new road again?"

"Yes, on the new road again. It's that road from now on I think. I've been making a page about it for the Christmas album." And I showed her:

Then I opened my notebook and looked at what I had written:

I wrote about the forty years I'd been travelling that road, city to town, town to city and back again. How we had gone first from the city, in the days before car seats, with my little brother in his carry cot in the back, to live in the country in our little farming town. And how that road had taken us back to our Grandparents. Through frost flung fields in winter and the sunny hope of summer, backwards and forwards over the years.
Past the stone wall, the big rugby pitch, the little bird house in a garden. The "by-pass" opened and those landmarks disappeared, but still we rode that road, up and down, down and up.

I wrote how at last I packed up my wedding dress and drove off to my new home. In the city again, back where I started. Right back. And, as I travelled the other way now, city to town, I saw new things every time and I thought about home. The pull of the city was very strong; but still in the country there were faces I knew, places I could find with my eyes tight shut.

And how, finally, last month, the brand new road road opened and everything changed. The journey isn't my journey any more. That has gone. At first I was sad. But as I looked at the new view, the strange things I was seeing and as I felt the altered tilt of the road, my perspective changed too. I could see it all in a different way. Sometimes, coming home has to change. And sometimes we have to let it.

And, with that, I flipped my noteboook shut.

"You need to copy that out right now, while I'm busy," The Small One said, picking up a roll of sellotape and a big pair of scissors and heading out the door. "Lots more to do. After all, it is Nearly. Christmas.


Ruth said...

Love, love,love this. And do hope Granny will be okay.

debs14 said...

What a lovely story, you write so well Sian, I feel there is a literary world out there waiting for your first book.
It's such a shame that this weather has disrupted so many people's plans but I hope that all the family are safe and well to celebrate Christmas wherever they are.
And re the journey, it's so apt for how our lives change over the years too and also not just what we see, but the way we see it too.
A lovely lovely post.
I do hope the Small one leaves a little bit of tape left for any last minute gifts that Santa finds hidden away in his safe place that he then forgets about ;-) (or is that just me?)

JO SOWERBY said...

i cant wait to meet the small one she sounds my kind of girl. it's amazing u have brought back memories for me of travelling cross counrty with my sister in her carrycot too. i used to love the roads going to my grandparents in cheltenham and we certainly went from lots of directions. there are now bypasses too but many of the old routes are my faves. i can remember learning to drive and going as learner driver through basingstoke as it was being built, it is now completely different but i still remember all the roundabouts i went round.
Jo xxx

Tinkertaylor said...

What a lovely story, when it all boils down to it it's family that matter the most, whatever journey you have taken you can always find your way home.
Have a Merry Christmas

Cheryl said...

loving your poignant, happy-but-tinged-with-not-quite-sadness-but-nostalgic tone. merry christmas! x

Alana said...

Lovely, lovely story Sian. I think it's only human not to want change but actually as humans we are quite adaptable to changes in our lives. Sometimes changes can be a good thing and having granny safe in her home and (maybe) your family safe in yours is not a bad thing. Hope you and yours have a wonderfull Christmas wherever you all may be.

Jimjams said...

It is indeed nearly Christmas - and one we'll all remember for snowy journeys, missing parcels, altered plans, endless queues ... hope yours is a good one!

Julie Kirk said...

I guess it doesn't really matter about the stretch in between when it's what's at either end that really counts. Merry Christmas Sian - to you and yours.

Julie x

scrappyjacky said...

Such a lovely piece of writing, Sian....change does tend to make us sad....but then later we can see how it has actually improved things.
Hope you reach your mum....I'm realising that a white christmas isn't all it's cracked up to be!!!!
A verry Happy Christmas to you all.

Louise said...

A lovely story, which has made me think of the roads i've travelled over time. Today all those roads are covered in snow and like you i'm not so sure that our visitors will arrive tomorrow!!

i'm glad i found your blog as i've loved reading it this year and look forward to reading more next year. Happy Christmas xx

Amanda said...

The small one is so sensible isn't she? Merry Christmas to you, The Accountant, The Tall One and The Small One. I hope your plans all work out and you reach all of your family one way or another.

Melissa said...

I so enjoyed reading your post today. I do hope the weather will cooperate for ya'll the next few days! Sending warmth and a very Merry Christmas wish to you and your family from Texas!!!

Susanne said...

Your writing always give voice to your unique perspective - thanks for sharing. And Merry Christmas!

Amy said...

I feel quite emotional reading this post Sian - I am a traveller up and down a road which has changed a lot in the past twenty years - I too have seen landmarks from a changing perspective, but, mostly I'm grateful it now is a shorter journey to see my parents!

Miriam said...

I love your story Sian x I have sad memories of a road no longer travelled, but hey ho it's Christmas eve and I am thinking of you. ps You should have seen the size of the moth that was doing its best to break through my back door last night!

humel said...

A really beautiful post, Sian. I can't even put into words how much I enjoyed reading it! xx

Maria Ontiveros said...

Gorgeously written Sian. Although my parents are passed away, my brother still lives in the house where they lived for 40 years (where we moved when I was 1). It's so wonderful to return "home" and experience the house still filled with all my brothers and sisters (and now their kids). It's a long, boring 6 hour drive down a straight highway at 70 mph but it is fun once we get off the highway to see old landmarks.

Rachel Brett said...

What a lovely post Sian, the small one sounds so lovely - making sure you get to post on your blog :)

Anonymous said...

Another beautiful post, Sian. I so enjoy your writing and your stories!

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