Home Is Where?


Who will we be without this place? And where else could home be?


When we left Saint Paul, I convinced myself that we could move back when the kids were grown. We would want one of those craftsman bungalows with bedrooms on one floor. We could get to the coffee shop, restaurants, the theater, museum exhibits.  But I hadn’t considered it would be even harder to leave the next place, after staying over 25 years now.  The attachment is strong– even stronger for this new, now old place.

HOME. That feeling of comfort, safety and belonging. And the realization that the loss of it changes family life forever.  Its history and traditions.

Our Birch Briar house. Where we brought home our baby Bea. Had our animal companions, Britt and Phoebe. Our July 4th parade.  A backyard pond where the kids skated after school.  A sledding hill. Bonfires in the woods, winter picnics on Christmas Eve. A piano.  Book shelves. Peony bushes and tulips. Lilies of the Valley. Oak leaves to jump in.  Wood ducks nesting.

I love my home and all that it is, all that surrounds it. My dear neighbors. My view of the sunset.  My walking trail. My book club. My feeling of belonging.

Last spring Phil and I went to a pottery tour, where home studios are open to visitors to see the making of the artists’ crafts as well as a way to buy their art. One of our stops was a beautiful place on a small lake. The house was situated with a view of the water and a lovely barn that contained “his and hers” studio space. The couple had built an artist’s compound over a period of many years, clearly a labor of love and a devotion to their art. I noticed a sign posted in view of the sales area. Lake Crystal Property for sale. Please ask about it. We want an artist to take over and love this place as we have. I overheard the man and a guest talking.  “We know it’s time to leave, we have seen too many others who stayed too long. They could no longer take care of things. Didn’t have the resources to pay for the maintenance.  It fell apart. Became their worry and concern. They lived for their property.”

I don’t want that.  But where else could home be and have these very things I love. Kind neighbors. Familiar rooms. A place to walk in nature. Beautiful views.

I must admit these last few years, since our kids are gone to live in their own places, we have retracted a bit. Don’t make it to all the neighborhood parties, don’t know the first names of the new couple who moved in last spring.  I have pulled away. Don’t reach out as much as I used to.

I see my contemporaries welcome grandchildren, and our own family continues to change–add new members.  I don’t want to recreate home with the idea that it will always be central. I know this time has passed.  We are on the long down slope and it has already started.

But no one sees themselves as “ready” to be here.  To be shedding, rather than acquiring, to be getting smaller.  Diminished.

The kids say, “Home will always be where you and Dad are.”

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