A few months ago, I went home. Actually I went to visit friends in Arlington Heights, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. I have called it home for over 36 years. We stayed with our neighbor, Gail. Actually we stayed with our one time neighbor, Gail.
You see, even though we moved to our new house in Virginia a year ago, I called our other house home. After all that is where my heart is, that is where I raised my children. That is where I raised myself. That is where I became who I am. That is where I identified so many things that I wanted to do and did them. That is where I worked for years to create the life that I wanted for myself and my family. That is the house that I poured my creativity into creating the home that I envisioned. Over the years there were so many changes not only to myself, but also to my home.
It’s difficult for me to remember just how many changes we made to our little house. We made major renovations and minor improvements. The ‘Ole Buckeye who retired 2 1/2 years before I did, worked in the yard. I mean he worked in the yard to make it a total enhancement for the house. We had plants that we nutured over the years from small plantings to lovely specimens. We had bulbs that bloomed every spring proving the winter was over. I loved seeing those first purple crocus buds begin to bloom. I loved the birch and the Japanese maple. I loved all the ground cover that I worked with tirelessly to spread over the entire front beds.
By the time I closed the business, I was ready to relax and enjoy the house that I had made into a home that we loved. That was not to be. After a winter away, the decision was made to buy and move. It was the right decision, but that doesn’t make it an easy transition.
That brings me back to NOW. As we pulled into our “neighbors” driveway and I looked next door there stood a house I barely recognized. The windows were dark, all the shades pulled, the beds in the back unmaintained and the landscaped front…relandscaped with grass and rock. All that remained were the birch, the Japanese maple and the lovely sugarbush that we put in the year before we moved.
The trash and recycle bins were parked in the front. There was no “smile” on this house. Yes, it is a house, but it is not my home.
I am glad we made the visit. I am glad we had time with our friends. I am glad that I hugged my “neighbor” and we shared lots of wine clad conversation.
I was not Home. I was a visitor. I was a guest. I was not sad, but maybe a little shocked at my feelings. I felt displaced.
You see, even though we have moved and have a lovely townhouse to which I have transported the contents of my previous home, it still does not feel like “home”. Don’t get me wrong, it is lovely, and more than functional. Actually I might have considered it my “dream house” several years ago. It has so many spaces that I truly enjoy and where I can completely relax, but “home” it is not, at least not yet.
I have come to realize that a Home is built over time from the life we experience within the walls, because of the memories we create, because of the changes we initiate to make it our own.
What I have come to determine is that I can’t go home again to where I was and I can’t go home to where I am until I have established it to be my home. My heart continues to long for what I had and what I thought I wanted when I retired. My heart is trying to be secure and fulfilled where I am. It continues to be a process of restructuring what I was planning into what my plans have become. I think that I lost myself in a hectic transition and now I am attempting to make an emotional transition after a physical transition. It will take time and I find that sometimes I feel that I am wasting some of my precious time.
I can’t go home again right now. Strange.
The one thing that I have realized…the home of 35 years, is not home. That door was closed during my visit. The address was the same, the house was the same, the home no longer existed.
It is true…you can’t go “home” again.