Thursday, September 11, 2008

Home is where....

My mom just told me that they are putting our house in Memphis on the market come spring. (Loud exhale)

I knew this was coming, it makes total sense for them and for where their lives are right now. And yet I still feel shell-shocked.

And I have no right to feel this way, having only been back twice in the last year. And twice the year before that. I'm never at home anymore...but that doesn't change the fact that home is ever-present for me. The fact that I know I have the same bedroom waiting for me in the same place it has for the last 20 years is part of the quiet you find while exhausting worst case scenarios.

If I'm ever on the run from the law, I will be able to run to the room with a perriwinkle window seat that unfortunately mismatches sage green walls. I can hide out in the same closet I used to lock Brother in. Or nap under the ceiling fan still dotted with (faded) glow-in-the-dark stars that look like a galaxy when the fan is on high. It is my room.

And the kitchen. I learned to cook between that kitchen and the one across the street. I think we can gather exactly the kind of role that's played in my life.There have been mutinously raucous games of Pictionary played at the kitchen table. I have stood at the kitchen counter with a massive glass of milk enough times to account for both my height and lack of broken bones.

I could really go through every room. And my rose garden in the back yard. And the "railroad" our dog Toby dug by wearing down the grass along our fence (R.I.P.). Let's save me some mistiness and you some whiny extra minutes in your day.

My point is that I recognize almost everyone has to say goodbye to their childhood home at some point. And I recognize that just because some very important milestones happened in that house doesn't mean they cease to have happened when my family no longer lives there.
(Much as though that might be convenient.)

No. In a prescient moment earlier in the week, I talked about "having my real home in my physical home." I was raised in Memphis. I live in Chicago now. Chicago is where I (allegedly) exist as an adult. Is this the point when "home" for me becomes where I physically live? Interesting.


nicoleantoinette said...

I don't have a childhood home that I feel this connected to because I moved around so much. Sometimes I really wish I did though, because it sounds lovely.

Molly McGuffin said...

Me too, I love chez Langsen. Post-football game milkshake sessions with the Pops, mother-daughter brunches, sometimes awkward (Fowler!) college break dinner parties, and one specific evening sticks out - the highly orchestrated "let's all get drunk together for the first time" with guest appearance of Alec as bartender! Err and the other memorable evening ... nothing like "sleeping over" in your guest room, saying good morning/goodbye to papa langsen enjoying his morning coffee. Yiikes

Nilsa S. said...

I moved around enough as a child that I don't feel like my parents' current home is home. Plus, my bedroom there has been redone and is now a guest room. Definitely no longer mine.

But, I have lived in Chicago for 12 years now (gasp) and it still feels weird calling it home. Yet, I never imagine living anywhere else. Go figure.

Colleen Snell said...

I was living in Hilton Head, SC partying my butt off as a 21 year old the summer my parents moved out of my childhood home. I had the audacity to call them on moving day (while it was pouring and the movers didn't show) and cry that I was sad about them leaving the house. Didn't go over well.

It's been 11 years and I can still smell that house.

Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

Oh man. This hasn't happened yet, but I know that I will feel the EXACT same way when it does. I lived in the same house (the same bedroom) from birth until I was 22 (with a brief excursion into dorm life for two semesters). I only get hope about twice a year, but it's going to be rough when "home" is no longer an option.

Cheryl said...

oh :( I can't imagine how sad that much be. I have the childhood home and like you said, you know the day will come, but it's still really sad!

You need a drink because that plus dreams being chased by blocks of cheese, oy!

So@24 said...

I just had the best vision of a mini TKTC in a giant chef hat with chocolate smudges on her face.

elle michelle said...

Awwwww! End of an ERA.

Good thing you have, like, 20 different surrogate families you can stay with if you ever feel the urge to go back to the 'hood. In fact, bring me with you. It's more fun going back when we can go out.

Though... I guess we don't have to travel 800 miles together to do that, huh?