On Going Home

IMG_1988This past weekend brought about a sort of awakening for me. April had been a non-stop parade of gloomy days – wet, cold, dreary… each one indistinguishable from the last. It felt as though the steely, gray, overcast skies of January and February fell to the ground and walked among us – wrapping everything in a cold, wet blanket of blah.

Blah… I can think of no better adjective to describe my general condition for more or less the past few weeks since I’ve written. A dictionary, a thesaurus, and the whole of the information superhighway at my fingertips and “blah” is the best I can do?! Sorry, folks. Perhaps I should try to explain.

James and I entered the real estate market full-speed in February. Therapists and folks in the real estate business agree: buying or selling a home is on the same emotional level of turmoil as battling a terminal illness or losing a close family member. Shameful as it is that something so mundane can bring about such awful feelings; I have to agree with the experts. James and I have both been a little less than sane since February – neither of us knowing from one day to the next whether we’d be “up” or “down” and knowing even less the rhyme or reason for those feelings.

We’ve decided to take the plunge and look for our dream home rather than a starter home. Incidentally, it will also be our first home since both of us have been renters up until now. So, with giant 6-digit figures haunting our dreams, pitiful tours of homes that did not live up to their photos, and the strange sensation that we’ve somehow returned to the dating scene, I guess it could be understood that my zeal for blogging has been put on the shelf.

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Most of my inspiration for blogging comes from feeling at home and being inspired to share something – from the kitchen or from the heart – with everyone. Since James and I have essentially been cheating on our home by going out and seeing other homes with reckless abandon – even fantasizing about cooking, eating, and sleeping with those other homes – perhaps there’s some feeling of guilt in me when I walk into my kitchen and put on an apron and seemingly go through the motions of loving our current home.

I was recently reminded of another time in my life where my compass was spinning and I wasn’t sure where home was or even what home was. Though, as a renter, I’d moved every year for close to eight years, when I moved from southeast Louisiana to Chicago it was a big move in more ways than one. After the newness and euphoria wore off during the first few months, homesickness set in and I was forced to confront those feelings – not a fun thing to do in the doldrums of my first Chicago winter while also dealing with the death of my paternal grandmother.

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Dusting off old memories in my mind and examining each one, I came to a surprising conclusion:

Home is more than a place; it’s an idea, a feeling, a smell – a combination of all my senses and memories. And, though my mind tells me that I’ve left it behind, 850 miles away, my heart knows that my home isn’t tied to one place, it follows me everywhere I go and even comes out of my mouth when I least expect it. Home is the hugs that I give to the people I love – it’s the feeling I get when I step outside on a clear day and hear birds and feel that in spite of what may be going on in my life, that I’m loved. Home IS love.

IMG_2862I sat at my computer in the dark of a frigid, early March morning in 2006 and wrote that with tears streaming down my face and – in spite of all the reasons I had to be sad – suddenly the tears were no longer tears of sorrow or worry. Something finally changed. Though nothing particularly special happened that day or the next day, that sudden feeling of warmth that came over me has stuck with me – sometimes wavering, but always there.

And so, this past weekend when the sun finally came out and my seedlings that I started back in February beckoned me to go outside to plant them on the balcony (yes, the balcony that is and is not really my home!), I felt that giddy rush of warmth come over me. Plunging my hands into the soil, smelling the compost, listening to the birds, I felt at home. And I felt grateful.

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Our winter was not all gloom and doom. James and I made a trip down to Louisiana to visit with my family in mid-March where springtime was already in full swing. As we drove south through the heart of America, it was amazing to watch the brown and grey landscape slowly turn greener and greener until it eventually erupted into all sorts of amazing colors – wisteria and wildflowers waving as we drove past.

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James’ sister, Georgia, was even able to come along for a small part of the visit and meet my family. We toured some historic homes, gawked at lush springtime gardens, gazed into the vastness of the wetlands, and – most notably of all – ate everything we could get our grubby hands on!

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Visiting with family and a few friends, surrounded with all of that nostalgia from my former home, I was tempted to agree with that old adage “you can never go home again.” Businesses evaporate, old hang-outs change or disappear, trees are cut down, political climates change. It’s very easy to let these things clutter it up, but home is so much more than those things. Somehow, sitting there at a table surrounded by my brothers, their wives, and my nieces – and all of my family – the real meaning of home was able to shine through and I was able to take that with me. Wherever it will turn out to be, I know James and I will be home soon. Best of all, I know we’re already home.

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~ by Jason on May 3, 2011.

4 Responses to “On Going Home”

  1. Welcome back, sweetness! I’ve missed your blogposts, but I am in total agreement. The house-buying process is exhausting, exhilarating, and excruciating all at the same time. (How’d you like that alliteration?!) Here’s hoping that in our emerging spring you will find some inspiration.

    • Nicely EXecuted alliteration!

      I’ve actually missed blogging… thanks for missing me, friend. 🙂 I’m hoping that sooner rather than later I’ll be making a post detailing how the house hunting is OVER!

  2. Lovely to read your thoughts, and see you again. Your words about home are inspirational, and I’m sending them to my siblings as we celebrate Mother’s Day today, and miss our Mother still. God bless, and good luck with house hunting!
    Hugs,

    • Thanks, Sally. 🙂 I hope you and your siblings were able to take comfort in one another and your memories on Mother’s Day. I’m glad you found my thoughts about home inspirational. God bless you too!

      And we need all the house-hunting luck we can get! Thank you! 😀

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