Friday, August 20, 2010

Coming home

After 12 days in Seattle, I appreciate the sentiment that time moves too swiftly. Pre-wife, pre-Mommy, I used to fly home at least five times a year. I could work remote. And all the mileage accrued from work travel meant not only medallion status on Delta but many free frequent flier tickets.

I miss home. And many aspects of the Pacific Northwest. From beautiful landmarks like Lake Washington, Green Lake, and Pike Place Market on the waterfront to other less photo-worthy but still fantastic things like deluxe burgers at Dick's and the giant caramel/chocolate/peanut butter dipped apples I love from a little store on First Avenue.

I also miss the instant access to my family. There are many days when I wish the coordinates of my family allowed me to pick up the phone and ask any one of them, "Meet me for lunch?"

Our Mom still lives in the same house I was brought home to from the hospital. Oh, yes, she has remodeled the interior. And it is beautiful. (But I am still lobbying for some central AC. People in Washington don't need/want/or know about central AC.) 

And there is something to be noted about the moments that become personal snapshots of happiness. The first morning MiniMac and I woke up in the house I grew up in. His toddler bed moved into my old room. A room once plastered with posters of Billy Idol, the Calvin Klein underwear model, and Adam Ant. A room remodeled now but still maintaining empty dresser drawers for my visits home.

We awoke to my Mom poking her head in my room, with her affable and welcoming voice I woke up to for the first eighteen years of my life. (She, like me, very much a morning person.) MiniMac had crawled into bed for a morning cuddle and her voice rose above his giggles to ask, "Who wants pancakes for breakfast?" 

To which I respond, "I do." And she laughs because I drink protein shakes or eat egg white omelets and her question was directed to my son. But yes, when I am home, I want to sit at our kitchen table, looking into the amazing backyard, drinking tea, and eating pancakes my Mom made. 

Coming home produces a series of feelings in everyone. For some it is a haven. For some a sentence (and I am referring to the jail kind.) Some loathe it, some love it and I am definitely in the latter category.  The house where I grew up is like it's own vault of memories and coming home differs very little now from when I was 19 and coming home from college in the sense that being home always reflected so many great things in my life. And on the rare occasions when I felt disconcerted, being home always signified everything is going to be fine. And being home also meant my hopeful plea: PLEASE tell me Mom made chocolate chip cookies or and pumpkin bread.

And my brother and I would stay up late. Camped out in our family room. The SNL reruns we used to view now replaced by SNL "Best Of" DVDs. That particular room has absorbed conversations evolving from kid talk (like how he had a crush on a certain K. Holder in high school. Do not attempt to deny this as I have a stellar memory) to relationships, and later to advice (like for the love of GOD, would you please stop drinking so much MONSTER?) And I wish I could capture all of those conversations permanently.

While home this visit, my Mom suggested taking MiniMac to a new park. Once there, I suppose we were to let my child on the swings first but for some reason my brother said the word "contest" and I said "put your money where your mouth is" and we dominated the swingset for a good thirty minutes. As we swing, we make fun of one another's swinging skills. And we spent a good bit of time reenacting one of our favorite Saturday Night Live skits: You got to SIMMER DOWN NOW.  And I do believe we laughed harder in that time frame then we have in a long time. My Mom and son watching from picnic benches and laughing with (or at) us.

The just desserts served to us both later when at a tiny drive in near my Mom's that is so old I think Moses used to visit, my son, licking his giant soft serve twist cone says, "Uncle D,. you got to simmmma dowwwwn now. 

As I scrolled through the pictures, this one seemed to pinpoint the heart of the afternoon. Not only did I note that my brother's attempt to school me on the swing set old elementary school style required that he truly put his back into it, it also captured something far more significant for me.

More than just the freedom and opportunity to act like a kid, it was also the recognition that yes, I am so lucky. And more essentially, it was the affinity for being with people I love, who love me, and knowing I can always come home.


Have a beautiful weekend.

50 comments:

otin said...

I have never been one for going back home. I tend to like to move on and not look back too much.

Brian Miller said...

all the having read that...i left home once, forsaking it...only to find myself wandering back...now i would trade it for nothing...

Stephanie said...

Oh my....you made me tear up. I miss seeing Mt Rainier painted on that gorgeous NW sky.

You are lucky -- I've moved around so much that "home" doesn't have quite the same meaning. Glad you had a great trip.

Simply Suthern said...

I can imagine how sweet a time that was. Seattle sounds like a great place.

Depending on who's point of view, lucky or not, I still live within 6miles of where I was born. I was over at mom and dads last nite visiting.

Most of the folks at work think it's odd that I still live here and there are only 4 people here that were born in NC. They think I should get out more. As the old song says. " I Like calling NC home"

ANd you are right. The classic SNL is best by far.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

I love going home! For me it's always been where my parents are. Being a Marine Brat we moved a lot, but home always had the familiar furniture and my parents. Now it's just my Mom and still it is home!! Lovely to connect to your past and share it with your son and family.

Mom in High Heels said...

What a nice post. Since my dad was in the Navy when I was growing up, I never had a brick and mortar home that was permanent. Home happened to be wherever we were as a family. It's that way for Indy now as James Bond is in the Army. When I do go "home" (I've never lived there) though, it's the familiarity of things that makes it feel like home, like the Lladro statues my dad brought back from Spain when I was little and have had a place in every house we ever lived in, or the familiar books on the bookshelves, that I've read a hundred times. I'm not one for going home often as it takes about 12-14 hours of flying and layovers and involves terrible jet lag, but when I do go home, I will never, ever, ever say no to a big bowl of my moms homemade chicken and dumplings (though I don't eat the chicken) or some of her fig preserves. :) After a week or so though, I start to get squirrly and long for the comforts of my own home. Plus, at my house, I can put my feet on the coffee table and that's okay. :)

Eva Gallant said...

There's nothing like being in the cocoon of famaily!

Mighty M said...

I love the love your family has - how special to be so close! My husband insists on stopping at Dick's just about any time we go by that 45th street exit. :)

Susan Erickson said...

You are lucky to be able to go home to the house that you grew up in. My husband has that and it's always a warm and fuzzy event going there. My Mom's sterile condo just doesn't do it for me. But family love sustains us...always....

Two Fat Girls Take Umbrage said...

I live in Seattle and also love everything about this area. I am envious of your time with your mom--mine passed away 5 years ago. Enjoying your writing. Jo

Herding Cats said...

I loved reading this post JennyMac. I was just home for a short visit, and it made me miss it so much. Also, I had quality brother-time too, and it is so fun seeing how we have both changed (and stayed the same) as adults. Plus, my mom is just an amazing cook, and nothing beats her BLTs on a summer's day. Although it sucks to live far from home, I think it makes the visits that much sweeter, don't you?

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I lived in Seattle for just shy of 3 yrs. It was most difficult for me.

But I have to ask - why do they build these gorgeous homes and not put in air? Is there some logic I am missing? I was told that You may only need it for 8 weeks but seriously you have homes in Florida with heat and they may only need it 2 times a year. I never understood that one.

It truly is the most beautiful place I have ever lived!!

The Boob Nazi said...

I wish I lived in Seattle instead of the city I live in. But living in the ghetto is okay, I guess.

Intense Guy said...

This is what that Thomas Wolfe dude meant when he said, "You can't go home again."

So many great memories - and what is so endearing about this stunning blog post is that MiniMac is picking up on the joy that your family is centered on.

I have similar memories of a house that I only lived in during summers down the shore. Carefree times that consisted of only trying to decide between swimming in the bay or the ocean - bike riding or boating - baseball playing or watching (semi-pro softball) - and it never occurred to me that it would ever end...

DaisyGal said...

I loved everything about this post Jenny! There is nothing like being in the company of the house and the family you grew up in, as long as there are no hideous memories there.

I know that when my brother,sister and I am together and we get caught up in HISTORY, it makes for laugh out loud fun. It gives us a chance to harness our inner children again and be siblings that *maybe* have not grown up that much...when life was simpler and funnier.

I loved hearing MiniMac mimic both of you, as Gio and Jacob do that ..or say "BOO_YAH" like Unca Ben...it reminds me that time can move on...but we can move it with it.

TGIF :)

Kristina P. said...

Sadly, I don't have a home to go back to. I hope to provide that for my future children, someday.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

You're lucky! I hope my son will have this one day! Enjoy your weekend Chickie!
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foxy said...

Excellent, excellent post! And i sooooo relate to it. ALL of those moments - the old ones and the new ones - are so treasured.

My brother and I, too, had a swing competition just last year actually. And somehow I'm remembering that his beltloop got caught in the hardward of the swing, so that when he jumped off, in mid-swing of course, his shorts totally ripped all down the side. Funniest. Thing. EVER.

Lexi Mitchell said...

Jennifer,

This brought tears to my eyes...I am so bummed I didn't get to see you during your visit, but your post captured everything beautiful. You are a brilliant writer, a beautiful mom and wife, and an amazing woman.

I love reading your posts and laughing or crying every morning. Thanks for bringing me joy about your childhood.

Heading to see your aunt and uncle tomorrow for another birthday party for Emmett, I'll give them extra hugs!

Cheers,

Lexi

McKenzie said...

Seattle is such a fun place to go, I live just a ways South of it and am lucky enough to venture up there on occasion. Sounds like you have a blast at your mom's. That is awesome that she is still living in that house! It must bring back a lot of great memories.

Elle said...

I loved this post...it's so beautiful and real, and you are a fabulous storyteller. There's a lot to be said for going home and reconnecting with family.

The mad woman behind the blog said...

Beautiful. And thank you for the inspiration.

Vivienne said...

Are you the sister I was supposed to have?

shortmama said...

So beautiful! And yet somewhat gut wrenching as my parents divorced and both moved out of my childhood home last year. It has been vacant until this week I have noticed someone around there and wonder if they bought it. Will be so weird to know that someone else will be living in "my parents house"

AmyLK said...

Home is a great place to be! I still live in the same little place where I grew up. Son goes to the same school and even has some of the same teachers I had! Glad you have been having a good visit.

Pricilla said...

Cherish your parents. They will someday be gone and you will wonder where the time went.

McKenzie said...

Also, you won an award on my blog!

http://mckenzieinwa.blogspot.com/2010/08/more-truth-5-question-friday-friday.html

Doula said...

Uh oh, I remeber that when I started to have nostalgic feelings about growing up with my brother, it produced a second child and a younger brother for my son!!

M-Cat said...

Beautiful post. I always wished I had a "home" to go home to. Now I think I'll just make sure that my kids do

Myya said...

This was so sweet. My sisters & I on occasion have swing contests. Funny how you can always be such a dork around siblings. It is like time gets warped or something. I love that! I am picturing minimac telling his uncle D to simmmmer down Nowwwww. Hilarious!!! Glad you had such a wonderful visit!

Babes Mami said...

I love going home! I hate being so far away but I'm not sure I would get the five star everytime if I didn't live halfway across the country!

Single Dad Laughing said...

I'm definitely a home body. I left home for a long time, but ultimately bought a house four houses down from my parents because, well, babysitting ain't cheap unless it's at Nana's.

Single Dad Laughing

Lisa and Laura said...

Even though my parents only live 20 minutes away, I still sometimes like to go there and spend the night. Last weekend my husband was out of town, so I packed up the kids and spent the entire weekend with my mom. There's nothing like being home again.

SmartBear said...

Awesome. I have always wished for a home to return to like that and a family that "gets" me. You are one lucky gal. What a beautiful post!
Best,
Tina

secret agent woman said...

I have about a two-night limit for being able to stay at my Mom's house, and very mixed feelings. But I suspect (and hope) it will be different for my own kids.

Leah Rubin said...

How wonderful that you are so happy with your upbringing, and that the visits back home are this good! I hope my kids feel the same way about coming home here!

Loved this--

L.

Writing Without Periods! said...

I went home to the beach this week. Very bitter sweet. I wanted to stay...the weather was so beautiful. Love this post.
Mary

J.J. said...

Nice post! I used to LOVE the swings at our local park. I think all adults should play on them and r-e-l-a-x.

I wrote a similar, albeit snarkier, post last Wednesday. lol! I won't be getting sentimental til Monday.

My name is PJ. said...

This was a touching tribute to family and 'home'.


I always wondered what it would have been like to have a childhood home to go back to and visit...with at least one parent under its roof.

Shanna said...

simply beautiful.

Baloney said...

Awww. I love this. And I'm jealous. The way my life works out, I don't actually have a place that is home to all of my memories. I'm missing a lot of the people in those memories too.
I love that you love to go home. Your relationship with your family is inspirational.

HalfAsstic.com said...

I do, if fact, know where you are coming from. I have just recently returned from my parents house where my mom is undertaking the monumental task of "redoing" her kitchen. I will be returning in the near future apparently. Dear Mither, apparently, finds the free slave labor desirable.
I enjoy the gabbing and her bringing me coffee in bed every morning. Not to mention the cooking!

Pseudo said...

Silly me, I thought you were fro the South.

I miss home, much as I love it here in Hawaii. Once in awhile, California calls to my soul.

Allyson & Jere said...

Absolutely beautiful post! There is nothing better than "home." That's why I still live 2 miles from my Mom and Dad and within minutes from all of my siblings. I honestly don't know what I would do if I couldn't be a car ride away.

The Absence of Alternatives said...

I am now homesick... :-(

The descriptions of you and your brother are so so so sweet. That is the reason why we decided to have more than one kid. Your siblings will be the only people that can relive your childhood with you so intimately.

Kristy said...

Yes, I love hanging with my mom and brother, too. I desperately wish we all lived closer. I envy people who live near family and get to see them frequently. Sigh.

wendy said...

HOW COOL. just to act like a kid again.
and go home.
to your roots....to the people who shaped you

I too wish I lived closer to my family. I wanna do lunch....but won't see them again until November for thanksgiving.

Kristin said...

I can't imagine how hard it must be to live away from your family. Once I had the dude I had this need to be near my mama! How wonderful that you had such a fabulous visit!

hotpants™ said...

I've never had the chance to go home since I never left. Everyone's still here.

The new SNL episodes simply can't compare to the old ones.

Siesta in Spain said...

love the photo..and your beautiful writing.