It always seems easier to be the one gone traveling than to be the one home worrying about an errant wandering family member. Even as we are tucked in safe and sound within the confines of our abodes, the place seems somewhat incomplete when a bed, usually filled by a child, spouse or partner, goes unoccupied. While our loved ones are traveling or otherwise out of our line of sight, we imagine all sorts of calamity that might befall them. Yet when we are the ones boarding endless airplanes and crossing miles of uncharted territory, we seem more occupied with thoughts of logistics and connecting flights than of separation from the household. Is it true that absence makes the heart grow fonder?
Whatever the reason, it feels good to have the family all together and secure under one roof. Maybe it is a vestige of our cave-dwelling ancestry. Perhaps it is just the way that God made us. Given the anxiety created when the family, sans me, is out for an overnight visit to relatives, I wonder how I will manage the coming months that will include unfettered driving licenses, far-flung travel and eventual college.
One could argue that it is not logical, or even necessarily empirical (studies show that most accidents occur at home, so one could argue that our residences are the most dangerous places to spend time), but we cling to the belief that all behind our front doors we are somehow more secure from the risks of life. Is it an edificial version of the security blanket from our youth? If we wrap ourselves in our personal manifestation of hearth, imagining we are impervious to the hooligans and beasts lurking just on the other side, we can forestall the frightening realization that life is fleeting, fragile and precious.