“That was buuuuun!” Max squeals, as we ease our car down the windy driveway that connects my mom’s house to the rest of the world. At three years old, the letter “F” is still a “B”, but his pronunciation is always punctuated by copious amounts of enthusiasm.
We are going home. We are home. We’re not home. We’ve spent five days in San Diego at my mom’s house, but it is not the house I grew up in. It isn’t the house that Max typically wakes up in, but all of his favorite people live there. Grandparents, eager to cuddle and connect. Toys, begging to be nudged from their slumber and thrust into dangerous dives from the sofa. Max runs at full speed into Baubee and Zaydee’s living room, throwing his lanky body into the center of the carpet and trying to swim through the plastic parts and pieces of his new “fwends”. Baubee has goldfish crackers, and she makes “scwamblie eggs”. We visit with Nana Nana and Aunt Katie, walking through the cement halls of the Children’s Museum, pretending that we’re locals. My mom has put every piece of our puzzle in place, making sure that cabinets are locked and diapers sit neatly on the shelf. She welcomes us as if it’s been years since she’s touched Max’s rosy cheeks, and yet it has only been weeks. She loves us that much. We fall easily into the routine that history brings, and yet…
San Diego has been covered in a fine dusting of minutes and hours and change. It looks different. It feels different. Having a child and a husband and a job and a life in San Francisco means that the foundation of this home has shifted. When you grow and you fly, you bring your home with you, tucked away into the part of your stomach that churns with the familiarity of change. Children of divorce are fantastic at packing the strong beams of their childhood into tiny, neat suitcases. Suitcases come with you. Until you breed and marry, creating a new home with your littles and your love. That home doesn’t change. That home becomes only yours, and it grows to fit the shape of your family like the worn rocking chair that embraces a new mama and her baby.
The garage door opens, unveiling the empty space that has been waiting patiently for us to return. “My home!” Max yells, as he settles into the shiny white leather of our very 70’s sofa. “It still here!” he sighs, remembering, as only a three year old with very little understanding of time and space can. “Yes, baby.” I whisper, as I pull him into the soft space between my ear and my collarbone. “Our home will always be here, waiting for us. Mommy, Daddy and Max. This is our home”. And amongst the mess of wooden train tracks littering the carpet and the sippy cups overturned in the sink, I exhale.
31 Replies to “Coming Home”
It always feels so good coming home, doesn’t it?
It does! It definitely puts things in perspective!
Oh home is always much more appreciated after time away. I feel like your son does sometimes, relief to get back and to be reassured that it’s still there, standing and waiting.
So true! Toddlers see the world so clearly some times!
I love your descriptions here….especially about what we carry in our stomachs. Beautiful. I love this post and I love home!
Thank you so much! I do find that most of those uncertain feelings start deep down in my stomach, before I can even process them with my head. We feel things in a very cellular way sometimes I think.
Wonderful. That feeling of “home” is mostly in our heads anyway and is all to do with the familiar. Also I am envious that you are between San Diego an San Francisco, coming from the North Bay myself and living in BFE Midwest town 😉
You’ll always have some CA in you then 🙂 So true what you said about “home” being in our heads too!
I’m part gypsy, counting hours till I can go somewhere. But it’s always nice to come home. Nice post.
Thank you! There is absolutely something to be said for the free-spirited ways of the gypsy though 🙂
Grandparents are so precious! I love what you say about children of divorce. I totally relate to it. Beautiful post!
I do feel like children of divorce have a different “baseline” for measuring where they belong. Thanks for commenting here!
Now I’m homesick. I haven’t been to my childhood home in a while. I love it but I’m always ready to come back to this home, too. You described that duality very well.
I often wonder what it would be like to not have the chance to visit as often as I do. I’m sorry that you’re homesick! I love what you said about “duality” though…the delicate line between all grown up and needing to fit back in your childhood space is so complex!
Ah, this post had such great timing for me! We were just at my parents house and I can relate to the feeling of familiarity of the old yet the imminent and irreplaceable comfort of your own family space.
Carinn, it is such a strange balance isn’t it? When I was younger I never thought that I’d feel comfortable anywhere other than “home”.
I have a horrible inability to get fully comfortable away from home. I always feel like I’d rather be home. Z has started to actually say, “I go home now, Mommy, pease?” I listen to him because I know how that feels. But visiting and having the away from home experience are great in that it gives you appreciation for all that YOUR home is.
YES! I have been so fascinated by Max’s need to “take a little break” or “go back to my home”. I wonder, have our boys learned to carve out their own peaceful space because that’s what we model for them? That’s not a bad thing! I agree with you that going away teaches you how important it is to come home again, and I think our boys get that too…on a very cerebral, toddler level 😉
This Christmas, we’ll be leaving our home in San Diego to spend the holidays in New York with my family. It’s been over 30 years since I’ve spent holidays with back where I grew up. I can’t wait.
Home is such an intangible thing, isn’t it? My childhood home isn’t the same — my parents divorced the year after I got married and my mom has brought home two different husbands and all of their stuff since then. Some things are like they were and many things aren’t and it is very strange being in a house that was my home, but isn’t any longer. Thank you for a lovely post!
Home… it is such a fascinating concept when you really delve into what it means at different stages life. Well done.
So beautiful. I loved the imagery and phrasing.
Max is very lucky to have so many loving family members in his life.
That saying, “you can’t go home again”? So true.
This was wonderful, and I could hear my own toddler when you described your son. Well done!
I love the way that his spoken relief “it still here” exposes your unspoken baggage. It clearly isn’t your fear – you know it will be there. And yet you remember still a one that wasn’t.
Sweet little boy, so glad to be home! Really good!
Wonderful story. Good for you for creating that haven that a little boy is so excited to return to.
A beautiful story. I love the third paragraph and the worn rocking chair reference. And the hug at the end!
Enjoyed that. Max sounds adowable.
I love seeing our house after we have been away too. Great piece that captures all that family is. Erin
Awwww… <3 how you envoked nostalgia.