As I found myself sitting on the floor of my parent’s living room during a trip home recently, the living room I did at one time call my own, I found myself in tears. Happy tears, sad tears, nostalgic tears, hopeful tears- I just feel full in this home. I cannot help but be emotional. I feel an overwhelming sense of nostalgia and longing for what once was to make a reappearance for just a moment or two, and I feel at peace in a way nowhere else can make me feel. I see on the walls photos of our family hanging with smiles, from years of bandaid knees to high school and beyond. This room is bursting at the seams of memories, ones I recall and laugh at, others I would much rather forget. Late nights of dancing around with my best friend and slow morning coffees with my mom and sister on the front porch as the thunder storms would roll in. Tears of sadness and loss, and tears of joy and excitement with new phases of life. I have sat with family in this living room, left for first dates from it, introduced boyfriends in it, spent hours talking with best friends in it, and so much more. These walls have seen it all. They have seen me at my best, they know me at my absolute worst. What a peace I have knowing that despite what these walls have seen and know about me, I am welcomed in with open arms. I walk through the door and know this is where I belong the most. It’s like walking into a big bear hug.
IT FEELS LIKE HOME, INDEED.
It has been six years since I packed up my bright teal bedroom and took everything I owned north to the city. SIX. How on earth that is possible really messes me up. Time really does fly, and it scares me. I want to press the pause button and beg time to slow down for just a bit so that I can stop feeling overwhelmed about change, people growing up, people passing away, people moving on, people changing… If you have followed me for any bit of time or personally know me, you know very well that I don’t do the whole change thing well. I really have a hard time with it. I like life just fine as it is, so why does it have to change? I turn 24 this month, which really does freak me out. Sure, I know 24 is still young, but it certainly isn’t a child, it isn’t a teenager, and it isn’t even “early 20’s” anymore. Does anyone else agree that growing up, entering these new phases of life, is a little tough? It’s the constant reminder that life isn’t, nor will it ever be, the same as it was before. No matter what, no matter your situation, life simply will not be as it was. Even today will not and cannot be the same as it was yesterday. And, for many, you may sigh with relief and say, “Thank god for that!” As for me, I look forward to what will be, I do believe the best is yet to come, but I cannot seem to take a hand off of what once was. There is this deep-rooted love and I just can’t seem to let go.
I can’t seem to let go of home.
It takes me coming home to remember what I want in life. It takes coming home to remind me that the city, the fast paced do or die kind of life isn’t what I grew up with. It’s been an acquired way of life, something you have to do in order to make it at all in the city. Heck, you have to change even the way you drive to make it out alive here. But, I want to carry home with me everywhere I go, wherever life seems to take me. Coming home reminds me to slow down (something I am really bad at). I grew up with every opportunity in the world, but it was just different. People are friendly in a different way here at home. They could care less about what they are wearing and care more about where they are going. They care more about how they are loving others and how to keep their focus on things that matter. And believe me, things that matter are not “things” at all, and the people here know that. Life is more simple in the country and it makes me long for that up here in the city. I know it can be done, but it certainly is a task to do. A good time back at home is sitting on the back porch talking for hours and watching the chickens chase one another while the deer graze alongside them. With every trip home, I ache inside just a little bit at the thought of having to hop back into my car and drive north on 35 on which I will likely be cut off, flipped off, and glared at. Rather, I prefer the back roads, farm to market roads, small town grocery stores, and people who say hello (or howdy) just because. I love walking into a restaurant with my parents for a quick dinner and running into 10 people who have known me since I was a 10 years old. I love walking through the grocery store and seeing faces I have known for years, passing a nod and a quick hello. It’s just different.
Yet, so it is, like everything in life- change must always ensue. And I for one don’t do change well.
This trip home was the first time I was ever told, “Make yourself at home.” It was the first time I felt the reality that this house I love and cherish is in fact no longer “mine”. It is a place I once lived and I am always welcome, but it is no longer my own home. It is no longer mine to walk through and do as I please. Even my bedroom is no longer mine, but a guest room filled with things that were not there when I called it my own- my few remaining items tucked into a corner in the closet. It is probably because of this that I spent every waking moment I possibly could this past week searching Trulia for homes and calling realtors left and right. I don’t want to lose “home”. The longer I am away, the heavier my heart feels at the thought that memories will never change or go away, but everything else will.
I sat on the front porch with momma one morning, as we have always loved to do, and looked at the tree in our front yard that is now towering almost as high as the house itself. I remembered that when we moved in 13 years ago, it was a dinky little thing. So much so that it was held up by bungee cords or it would simply collapse. Time did good for this tree, it has morphed and changed into something tall, strong, large, and impressive. Change was for the better for this tree. It is the same, but it is different. It is better. It is stronger.
THAT IS HOW I HOPE FOR THE FUTURE.
It didn’t change, it simply morphed. I moved, I morphed, but what I have deeply rooted in my heart cannot be taken away. I think that is why I ache inside so much every single time I come home- it’s like placing a flower in the region in which it will grow and thrive the best. It does well elsewhere, it can even produce just as many blooms, but when you plant it correctly, it flourishes and expands. Home, Bulverde, turning onto 1863 from the north, that makes my heart blossom in ways I just simply can’t compare. That is why coming home is so important to me- it’s a reminder of who I want to be forever. Not that change isn’t good, sure it’s good. But, some things are better left as they are. I hope that my heart never loses home. I love Dallas, I really do! Up in McKinney, Paul and I feel more at home than we ever have, but especially me. Transferring home is the hard part. How do I transfer the love for Bulverde to new places? Ahhh, that’s the change thing I suck at. How do I make a NEW home? That’s the struggle.
This piece is really personal to me, and it gives no resolution, and it may even be too mushy for you. Half of you might not have even made it to this point, and that’s alright. But, if you did make it to the end, you are either my mom (hi mom) or you are someone who, like me, has a longing deep within to carry home with you forever. Perhaps you also, like me, have a hard time with change and this whole growing up thing. Maybe your family is spread out across the country like mine, and it wasn’t ever what you expected. That’s okay. We are in it together. I don’t fear growing old, I fear loss. Can you connect with that? It isn’t that I don’t get excited about creating life in the next 5, 10, 20, 30 years… but I don’t want to lose the first 20 either.
If you connect with this, I feel for you. I love you and I hope you, like I am searching for, can cope with change better in the years to come. I hope you can find home and love it. I hope you can feel rooted. It will happen, and it doesn’t have to happen by losing your love for your roots, it simply means transferring them with you.
Happy Friday, sweet friends. I really do love ya.