Monday, June 2, 2008

Memory Monday - Going Home

Went home for the weekend - home as in to my mom and dad's and where most of my siblings live - to celebrate my niece's college graduation. She was 2 when she was a perfect flowergirl in my wedding. I have a photo of us standing beside my yellow subaru hand-me-down station wagon just before I left Home - right after the honeymoon as I went home one more time to collect my "stuff" and drive to my new home with my new husband. She was 2, chubby and gorgeous with big blue eyes and cute brown hair. (if i could figure out my scanner i would post it. alas, not tonight). She doesn't remember me living close to her. Only I carry the memories of that phone call while at college, "She's here - your new niece is here!" and rushing 45 minutes from school to home to see her in the hospital. Only I carry the memories of her first christmas and the "bapple" [apple] she wanted from "Tanta" and putting together piles of toys "some assembly required" until the wee hours of the morning with my brother (yet another family ritual I gave up when I got married and moved). Ex came into my life shortly after she was born. She was the youngest "baby" he ever held (she was about 10 months old!) Now she is 22 and a striking young woman.That's my two flower girls - once 2 and 6, they are now 22 (left) and 26 (right), holding the artwork the 26 year old painted for her sister's graduation. Along the way we created memories when I came home to visit - trips to the movies, the week I stayed and babysat them while their parents went on a vacation (before my kids came along), the trip to "Dirvinga Veach" [Virginia Beach] when she was 6 and I was pregnant with the twins. The time she came to visit for 4th of July and was in my house about 5 minutes when she slipped and fell outside and went to the hospital for stitches in the chin. The summer she came and lived with me and was Nanny to her cousins.
And as I left home - again - for the 100th (??) time - leaving her graduation party early so that I could get back home at a reasonable hour, I felt the anger and the bitterness creep in to where a happy girl once stood. Gone is the newlywed full of hopes and dreams and a future. In her place is the divorcee, who has spent the better part of 20 years away from her family, missing out on birthdays and graduations and births and mother's day and father's day and picnics and christmases and easters and thanksgivings and surgerys and car accidents and nursing the sick. And what am I left with? Living in a place where I don't want to be. Surrounded by his family, a family Ex wants me to "leave alone." Spending hours on the phone with my mom, my sisters, my brothers, texting my nieces and nephews, planning the "next trip" home.
No, I don't really want to live Home either. It's cold. And my profession has much more opportunity where I live currently than at Home. Indeed, I am toying with moving another 1000 miles south. But while driving away from Home back to my house and my kids, I can't help but wonder what life would have been like if I had stayed Home all those years ago. If I hadn't missed out on all those family events. And I wonder, how many more years will I be blessed with the gift of my parents and the ability to go back HOME?
And as I drive down the road, I hear this song, and I know I want to go Home....


SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Oh, you are so lucky to have that home to go back to, even if just for visits!

JO said...

Sigh. Home. Me too Girl, Me Too. Home to blue iced cakes bake by my brother, home to one more ham loaf from my Mom, home to Grandma and Pop's house for one more game of Milbourne Touring with the cousins in the hallway, one more tape line down my bedroom with Carol P to ensure my mess doesn't cross into her organization, one more time with Bobby W on my lap, one more time with my flower girl (the Mom now) and her sisters at the park playing...Sniff.

Do you wonder what are kids think of when they think Home? Mine have had a minimum of two (the King) and six or show (the Cadet)...I think I need to ask the Cadet what Home is to him....just to find my Home.

dkuroiwa said...

"Home" to me is a small town on the plains of Colorado...where I can go and sit on Mom's patio, drinking a cold beer, laughing and talking with friends...where I can just. be. me. I don't think I could ever live there again...but, sometimes...all the things that made me want to leave, call me back.
I wish I were so close...but, you know...since I started blogging and "meeting" such wonderful people....I don't miss "home" so much, so often.

My friend's daughters are like your nieces...I love them like they are my own and yet, I've missed so I have missed of my nephews.
Man!!! Get me out of this funk!!!
Thank God I couldn't play the video or I'd be a puddle here!!!

suz said...

I love this song. So great. When I think of home...I think of where I am now. For the last 10 years.
Life is SO full of the "what if's".
You can't change the past, so you have to embrace what your past is all you have. You can STILL change the future though...that is all up to you.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I'm from a family of 8 kids and they all live close, very close, to home except me. It is always hard when I call my mom or sister and can hear lots of family in the background. Knowing they are laughing and having fun without me just kills. I can't imagine having the bitterness of divorce to make the loneliness even more real.

Hang in there, and keep making those visits back home whenever you can.

Carol P. said...

You New Englanders always think of NE as home. Drove me nuts when I was up in MA for school and working.

I miss the same things as JO (except that our room was divided by bookshelves and you always, ALWAYS came on my side and left a mess so I could tell! "Mo-om! J was on my side of the room again! And she didn't clean up!"). JO left out how Icky makes great popcorn! (Every single night in summer, no microwave involved). Babysitting BW and taking him to Wildwood on "Naka Walks" (nature walks) and waving at the trucks on I-280. Walking through cemeteries with L; I would give much to do that again. Hitting softballs in the front street with Dad.

But every morning, I wake up glad that we live in OR. Glad for all the green and the mountains and the rivers and the coast and the mist hanging over the creek park and the damp woodsy smells and the ten thousand variants of rain, each of which has a different alive-ish feeling as the drop(let)s touch my skin when I walk out in the morning.

Because, much as I liked Ohio and my childhood there, and though my current job could be done from anywhere that has a phone line and a broadband internet connection, I can't imagine living there ever again. I won't say never, but I just don't see it happening. And here is a pretty good place to be right now.

Unsentimental me says home is where you make it, and I don't want to put my life on hold until I get there. When I was in MA, it was home. When I was in CA, it was home. Here, it's home. Drives S. nuts as I get all into the local history, the names and histories of the roads -- I shoulda been a traffic engineer -- the cemeteries, and so on. The little, mundane details that mark everyone's lives. That's what makes me feel grounded wherever I am, not the cataclysmic "World History Was Made Here" stuff.

But if y'all want to move closer to OR (esp. my siblings and nieces and nephews, whom we don't see nearly enough of!), I'd be glad to have you much closer...

(Don't mind me -- I never had a dream car either. Apparently, I'm an unrepentantly unsentimental geek...)

The Girl Next Door said...

thanks to all for your comments. Yes, Carol P and others, I think it is good that home is where you make it. Probably a lot of my current resentment comes from the fact that I don't want to live here anymore. I never really did want to live here. Ex chose where we lived so often b/c of his job and I was along for the ride. I wonder about moving in 2 years - will the kids think I'm abandoning their "home?" Daughter, though, cannot wait for me to move south. So maybe it is just my overactive emotional hormones....and I am lucky to have a great family and to have a place to go "home" to...

Carol P. said...

Yanno... Nothing, but nothing, can touch the feeling that I had when I actually arrived in Silicon Valley.

I worked for a year in Beantown (OK, Cambridge), and the first job and the boyfriend-at-the-time both weren't working out. I'd visited Silicon Valley before and fell in love with the geography and the exciting technical things going on.

So I set up a goal of moving to California and I did it. All by myself. Knowing precisely one other person out there, who I called and discussed hiring opportunities with. But also knowing that this was where I wanted to be at that time for the job opportunities and the lifestyle.

When I finally moved out there (after driving cross-country All. By. Myself. in an un-airconditioned car over the 4th of July week. Ahem. I was young and foolish then) I felt as though I'd left childhood and school behind and finally taken the last real steps to being an adult and truly responsible for myself and my life. Can't touch that feeling.

And for a year or more after that, every single morning when I woke up and drove to work, I had a shit-eatin' grin on my face because I was in California, Silicon Valley, just where I had set out to be and just where I wanted to be. It just felt soooooooo good.

Now, I later grew to dislike some things about The Valley, and there's NFW I would want to raise kids there. But nothing can top the feeling that I felt when I was first there.

Hang on to the Florida dreams. Right now, you have some ties that keep you from implementing them in the short term. But in the medium term, I wish and hope and pray that you get to feel the same exuberant thrill that I felt. Doing your thing. Where you want. And knowing that you made it happen.

Carol P. said...

Sheesh, can I write any comment than isn't novel length?

Why yes, yes I can. See???

Persnickety Ticker said...

*sniffle* Crying here. Lots of resons. This made me sad, the song broke the dam.

Move south. I would LOVE to meet and hang out with you!