Are We There Yet?

“I was born very far from where I’m supposed to be, and so I’m on my way home.” – Bob Dylan

‘Home’ – the definition in and of itself is intriguing.  It implies something stationary, yet I think it moves and morphs frequently.  When I was little (until the sixth grade), home was an apartment with a hallway that I thought was a mile long, the dotted linoleum in the bedroom I shared with my sister and the kitchen.  It was the night table I scratched my name into while I was talking on the phone with my dad during one of his trips to California.  It was the elevator button that I couldn’t reach when I was five and decided to run away.   When we moved to a larger apartment,  home became both safe haven and hell – as only home can be when you are an angst-ridden adolescent.

When the boys and I went out on our own, we moved a lot.  So much so that I would assure these two toddlers that home was anywhere we were together – whether we were in the car, at the supermarket, in our beds, taking a walk.  As long as we were together, we were home.  I remember feeling that I was saying this for myself as much as for them;  our various rentals somehow didn’t offer an accurate definition or image of what I wanted our home to be.  I had migrated so far from who I was, I’m not sure any four walls would have felt like a comfortable representation of home.  In a very pure way, the only home was truly where the boys were, for they were really all I was sure of, my touchstone, my heart.

So it should follow that if ‘home is where the heart is’, our address should also change (figuratively) with some frequency as we find our comfort with who we and where we are.  Where our love lies, where our being is at peace, where we can cocoon and soar, happy dance and hold on for dear life.

We’ve lived in our house for twenty-one years.  And I’m not the same person I was when we first moved in.  The walls don’t show the dirty fingerprints from little people who in principle would not use a banister.  There are echoes in some places where voices used to be.  We talk about moving and can’t move ourselves to do so.  For over time, the house was able to adapt itself to whoever I was at any given time, holding me tightly and with safety when at my most vulnerable and unsure,  and willing to open its arms when I needed room to explore and roam.  It has given me different rooms to settle into depending on my mood and greets me with comforting noises that are reflective of our ongoing conversation.  This house knows me well.  I’ve always been a little reluctant about long-term relationships, and our house let me fall in love in my own time.  It kept my children safe-ish (they did some pretty crazy things when they were younger), it held us all together until we could define ourselves as a family.

I get Dylan’s point – and I also realize that I have traveled far to arrive here.  My family is my heart.  My house after all this time, is my home.

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49 thoughts on “Are We There Yet?

  1. Your house is lovely. I have lived in several places over my sixty-two years. And they have all been home. But none quite so much as where I live now. I feel my house gives me a gift every day – the privilege of living somewhere so beautiful and serene.

  2. Your home is beautiful, Mimi — much like the inhabitants therein! I have lived in over 50 places in my lifetime, and I still believe that the ten years I lived in a 300-square foot apartment in New York City was the most “at home” I have ever felt. Maybe it was because there weren’t so many rooms to care for, choose from, etc., or the fact that I was by myself with my Golden Retriever trying to rebuild my life after an incredibly painful divorce and just trying to get to know who I was without a partner. As you always do with these blogs, you have touched me with your writing and how eloquently but simply you impart among your readers the joy in the simple things. Being thankful for where we are at this moment, but looking back at where we have been with gratitude and the ability to appreciate that all the experiences we have had have brought us to where we are today. Have a wonderful day!

    • Hi Christine – YOUR writing is exquisite and I totally relate to how one place can feel the most like home – regardless of how many places one has lived. That memory of re-defining and finding one’s self again, with the unconditional love of your Golden, makes it feel like a precious place in your heart. I’m so happy you stopped by and can’t thank you enough for such a beautiful comment..xxo

  3. Home is where the heart is some say, where one can put down roots. Not so for me at the present time as I rent. One day I will find the home I like to live in, not yet though.

    • I think our inability to come to a decision is a decision in and of itself. We’re just not ready to leave – for you’re right – when it becomes more than bricks and mortar, is your sanctuary and safe place, it is hard to think of leaving. I think we’ll be here for awhile longer. 🙂

  4. My Dear Mimi, After all that you have gone through, I believe that you have made it. It can be no better.  With love, Dad

  5. Mimi, one of my favorite quotes about home is . . . “be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need”. ~Sarah Ban Breathnach This was a wonderful piece. Thanks.

  6. This post particularly resonates today as I am currently sitting in Tampa International Airport watching the glorious sunset and waiting for my plane to arrive. I am we’ll aware that I won’t see the sunshine this brightly for weeks, but I am going home. Home to the man with whom I share this, more often than not, glorious life. Home to the man who views me with all my warts and can say “you’re beautiful” with a straight face. Home to the man who empowers me on a daily basis to be the best me I can be. Home to the house we, finally, finished renovating this past summer. Home to where my heart resides. With one caveat, it’s still a house until the moment the energy pocket that is my no longer living at home daughter enters with a loud “Mamacita”. This weekend home will be somewhere in the Berkshires engaging in winter sports that will make me question my sanity and theirs frequently. Home will be with the man who cares for my heart with kindness and compassion, tenderness and mercy and the child who taught me, long ago, about just how big a heart can be. The three of us, together, after being apart for just over 2 months – home. Beautiful post Mimi. And in a little over 2 weeks, home will take on an even different meaning, when two childhood friends look into each others eyes, see into their souls, acknowledge their respective and amazingly similar journeys, embrace the good fortune that has brought them back together – home.

    • Your comments brig tears Jo – because i know those who define your foundation, who represent all that is home for you and the love that awaits you there. I know that love will keep you warm as you all play in the snow!! Enjoy – and hugs to Ben and Jenna from me. And yes, in two weeks you will come home again – to me.

  7. Beautiful and heart-touching piece of writing, Mimi. Have been staying out of my parents house since I moved for college and thereafter in rented apartments. Your story makes me dream of a house which I will call ‘my home’ someday…probably in few years. 🙂

      • Feeling of home comes in as soon as everything unpacked. Yes, ownership is not a criteria but ofcourse, there are times when one wants to have things in a certain way in the apartment which is not possible if its rented.

  8. Lovely post Mimi – and lovely, loved house.As a single mother who moved every time the rent went up, and then hopped to a strange country where I knew no-one, I know how you must have felt.
    I felt my rented flat was home here in NZ, when I dared to buy three potted plants- one each for me and the children, for the first time in my life. They symbolised staying put and putting down roots!

  9. We are always talking about moving, well one of us talks about it much more. I LOVE my home because my husband has put his personal touches throughout every room. I wish I could pick it up and take it with me, that is the only way I would be happy. There is too much love in these walls for me to hand over to someone else…for now anyway.

  10. Such a lovely post as always, my friend 🙂 My parents sold the house my sister and I grew up in last year – never mind that both of us are out on our own and supposedly “grown up” – it was a huge transition for us! I can definitely relate to not wanting to leave the home you’ve built for your family. xo.

    • Thanks Amb – the good news (for me) is that we’re not going anywhere anytime soon. And I can totally relate to the emotional reaction to your parents’ sale of their house!!

  11. I am now in the 23rd place I call home. All of those moves have made me someone who values relationships over stuff. I must admit though … I am tired of moves and am planning on settling into this home for the long haul and getting to know it like I have never known another place.

  12. What a lovely home, sweet friend, and one that positively emanates the beauty of its inhabitants. Home *is* a tricky thing, and quite different than a house, no doubt about it. Your post touches my heart in many ways, as they always do. Thank you for sharing….all there is….xoxo P.S. Dr. Bill’s quote is *awesome*!

    • Hi my friend – what is ‘lovely’ about our house is that it has grown into our home. It is love-filled and memory-rich, it holds the evolution of our family in its walls, in its cracks, in its imperfections. And it was patient with me – for I was sensitive to the ‘tricky’ part of attachment..xoxox PS. I thought his quote was amazing too!!

  13. People say to me “When are you going to leave Berea, find a place in the world” But right here, this is my place in the world. I was lucky to be born enough with no distance to travel. Anywhere else I go ain’t home, it’s a holiday.

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