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The Case of the Cases

By Belinda

We arrived safely back in our second homeland, Canada, this afternoon, grateful to be home after our time away, full of memories to cherish.

Three days before we left though, Rob said, in an innocent attempt to be helpful, “I was thinking Belinda, I can get the suitcases down from the loft and put them behind the settee, and then you can pack them.”

I tried hard to calm my voice, and hoped he wouldn’t hear the tension I felt at the suggestion, just saying, “Oh, no, no, Rob, that’s okay, I’ll pack them on Tuesday; it won’t take me long.”

“I just thought it would be easy for you to start putting stuff in,” said Rob, and then joked, “I didn’t mean to make you feel like I wanted you to ‘get packing!’”

Rob aborted his plan with no further protest however, while I was left to ponder my adamant rejection of it. Packing to go home is always stressful to me, but I’ve never given much thought as to why that is. I realize that it’s associated with the fact that I hated going near a suitcase a moment sooner than I had to when I visited Mum, because it emphasized the fact that I was leaving. 

Although we never said so, (our “code” of being grateful for the time together and optimistically looking forward to “next time,” would not allow us to wallow in sadness,) there was always a lot of underlying emotion in saying goodbye, in spite of our outward bravery.

So I would try to pack without her knowing, which seems hilarious now! Mum knew that packing had to be done, she was always far more sensible and organized than I have ever been! Somehow though, packing in private, and not a moment sooner than necessary, is a leftover from that time, and I hadn’t realized it until Rob’s helpful suggestion inadvertently sent me into stress at the thought of packing in the living room, and sooner than I had to.

A few hours later, having figured this out, I confessed to Rob and Paul how weird I get at the thought of packing and said that if it was okay with Rob I would put the cases on his bed the day before leaving and pack them there. That was perfectly fine with him.
Not so long ago I would have just felt the underlying tension and not said anything, but I’m sure it would have shown. It would not have occurred to me that I had any other choice.

Speaking the feelings out loud though; acknowledging them and letting others know, helped me separate from them. And having accepted them and spoken about them, and asked for what I needed, amazingly, their power was gone. I no longer felt stressed.

Noticing my emotions, and putting space between me and them is just one of the many things I am working on rather late in life! And I'm sure that although I have a long way to go, the people around me are very relieved. :)


Susan said…
Yep. :)
Anonymous said…
I am always amazed at how differently we are all created. I'm sort of opposite of you. I like to pack well in advance, only adding a few last minutes things the last moment. I barely take anything out of my suitcase when I travel, preferring to live out of it than spread everything around. Packing to me is more an anticipation than a sadness. Isn't it funny how we view things?!?!? Good on ya for recognizing your feelings around the situation - dealing with baggage is way more important then dealing with suitcases!! :-)
Belinda said…
Ha Susan! I imagine you are one of the relieved.:)
Belinda said…
Anonymous--yes, my baggage sure came out along with the suitcases I was trying to keep in the loft. You are right, we are all so different. I admire your packing style!
Marilyn said…
"Speaking the feelings out loud though; acknowledging them and letting others know, helped me separate from them."

So true. Love this.
Brave Raven said…
Beautifully transparent. Once again the truth you have found about yourself has blessed many.
We, as travelers, have a difficult relationship with suitcases. When our dogs were still with us Eric would get depressed at the sight of one being pulled out and packed. For us, though, suitcases are almost exclusively about work - not vacation - something we'd like to change one day.
Belinda said…
Dave, poor Eric. See? He understood the truth that I struggled with about those hinged jawed clothes catchers. If he was in my life I'd always hide the case!

And it's about time you took a proper vacation. :)

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