Don't get me wrong; my parents have been in the same house since I was in middle school. It's beautiful and sits on a few acres of land, far from any of the surrounding towns or cities. For the most part, that plot of land always looks the same. Everything is quite familiar and always has been. My mom, without fail, has planted flowers each spring and summer (some years more than others). The old basketball goal still stands tall along the driveway--a little more weathered with each passing winter. My favorite dog (and great friend), Jack, is buried in the backyard. The young pine trees, in between which I used the riding lawn mower to teach myself how to parallel park, are now mature and entangled in each other's branches.
I still see the same stars at night from the driveway. Those stars: another story for another day. :)
I love the idea of my parents' house. I just don't feel at "home" there anymore.
When I left for college as an 18 year old kid, I ran away from my hometown and wanted nothing more to do with it. Ever. The town is fine enough, and I know there are some great people there trying to make it better. In fact, there are some amazing teachers in those schools. I just have some painful memories there. Those memories replay so much so that my brain no longer disassociates the place from the people and events. Driving into that town initiates an inexplicable feeling of negativity. I don't feel "at home" there. I never have.
I love my mother and stepdad and love their house, but I'm grown now. I've gone to college, gotten married, moved across the country and back, had children. Life has changed. I just don't feel "at home" in that house.
Oddly, I haven't experienced a strong sense of "home" since we lived on the Navajo reservation in Arizona. I felt more at home with that close circle of friends and being 3 hours from non-rez civilization than I had ever felt anywhere before. When we left there, I struggled to even understand my own existence.
Since Arizona, we've lived in 3 vastly different places. We seem to be settled, yet I still feel a sense of transiency. I hope to gain a nostalgic feel for our current town. I like it. People are nice; the community is well kempt; and the atmosphere is positive. I think it's a great place to raise our kids. It just isn't quite home yet.
Recently, I took the kids up for a visit to my parents' place. Earlier in the summer, I used "home" as an example for discussing denotative vs. connotative meanings with my summer school students. I realized, yet again, that I'm not sure what "home" means for me anymore.
People say, "Home is where the heart is." Maybe. However, even when with my husband and children, I still feel our family unit is still sometimes out of place.
The visit up to my parents' house had me excited. At that particular time, I was genuinely yearning for that sense of belonging. I've driven the 3 hour trip countless times, but for some reason, it finally hit me.
As the landscape began to change from rolling hills and trees to more and more farms and fields, my favorite radio station also began to come in more and more clearly. :)
Cornfields and a radio station.
WTTS (92.3) has been my absolute favorite source of therapy since I was teenager. I can't listen to it down here. When I'm driving my car and that station is blaring, I feel a sense of peace.
And those cornfields... ahhh, those cornfields. :) There is just something special about driving down an old country road with the windows down and your hand gliding through the air. It's predictable and perfect. And that smell--that mildly sweet, sticky smell. Even the sound of the insects. All of it. Perfection. :)
Cornfields and a radio station.
There it is.
|Two bewildered little girls enjoying thousands of lightning bugs|
|Home Sweet Home|
|One more for good measure... :)|