Maybe it’s because Scott and I have spent so much of our lives all over the place, and before moving to Virginia we lived in a different state what seemed like every year. Maybe it’s because that’s the norm for so many of our friends in the military, and in the private sector as well these days, jumping from job to job, state to state. But I kind of forgot what it means to be from somewhere.
I forgot what it feels like to be home.
At least until we went home.
It’s not the house I was born in, nor the next house, nor the next house, but it’s the one I stepped out of to go to third grade, and whose doors I stepped out the last time with a backpack and a duffel bag on the way to adulthood and independence, and it’s the one that, no matter how far off I’ve ranged, I keep coming home to.
Every time I come home, it feels like not all that much time has passed since I stepped out the door the first time.
The house is older and so are my folks, but they still enjoy sitting in their chairs in the living room and catching up over coffee. The living room has been added onto a little. The cats I grew up with have long passed on, but there’s still always a cat on the stoop to welcome you, and an exuberant Australian shepherd puppy.
It’s not the place that feels different when I walk in – it’s me.
Things I’ve forgotten over the years get stirred back up and feel more significant, attitudes I used to have about things come creeping back in, old questions emerge. I feel like I’m being parented, fussed over, taught, lectured, praised, and everything else I was used to getting from my parents when I was seventeen and getting ready to proclaim my adulthood.
It’s as if a literal half-a-lifetime of independence, adulthood, responsibility, and the like happened in another world, a parallel universe that I left.
Except that these days, I’m at least grounded by the husband and son I bring home with me. They remind me that the world out there wasn’t just a dream, that I did really leave and go to far off places and do amazing things. But the way they settled in when we got here tells me that it’s okay to remember, too, that those places and those things are far away for now.
There is a part of me that will always be seventeen again when I walk in through that door. In the past there have been times where I’ve had to take on heavy responsibilities in that house, and those times will come again, so for right now, I’m grateful for it.
I’ll pick up adulthood when my husband and son and I walk out the door again. In here, there’s warmth, happiness, grandparents who want to love and play with and dote on their grandbaby, and my dad’s fresh-baked apple pie, so we’ll take that for now.