Tuesday, August 11, 2015

You Really Can't Go Home

Not long ago it was brought to my attention that the house we lived in when I was born was up for sale. Curiosity set in almost instantly and my siblings and I started to discuss what it would be like to go see it. We decided to watch for an open house.

Tonight we had an opportunity to go and see the house by an appointment with a very kind and understanding real estate agent. He was very sweet.

I was about 6 or 7 years old when we moved out of that house, the same age that Angel is now.  We moved because of divorce. As the youngest, I have very few memories of any marital stresses between my parents. I have only a limited recollection of the details of the split. I am fortunate, I know.

The interesting thing about this tour of my childhood home is the differences in perceptions that each of us children possess. Different things were important to each of us, different details stood out for each of us. One feature wall in the basement was removed, which did have quite an effect on all of us. There was a mock bay window, with a top lit picture of an Irish castle. It was beautiful and it is gone.

My sister, the oldest, has more memories of the difficulties that led to the divorce and, thus, had a much more emotional experience than I had. My brother found his name written in sloppy childhood hand on an upper beam in the garage. That was something amazing.

I love that house. I love the layout and design. The big back yard that seems so much bigger than I remembered it, but seemed smaller in comparison to my brother's memory. The Trucker even liked that house. He got a glimpse into my childhood as well. But, I know that I love what I thought it was, more than what it actually is.

It is unfortunate the way that memory works. I have had a fairly clear image of the floor plan almost all my life. But as memories are continual reconstructions, I'm quite certain that details from today will begin to merge with details from my history. Perhaps a little magic of my youth will be lost. There are many features that are still the same as they were, some a bit surprising. But the differences exist and will alter my future perceptions, because the memories for me are small and broken already.

Perhaps it is a curse to know that this will happen. Darn Psyc Major!!

Within minutes of leaving, Macboy was calling me. Angel was being difficult and I had to shift back into mom brain and deal with the behavior. The evening went fast, with a lot of fight. Angel had to call my bluff, I had to send her to bed way earlier than she's been going lately. I wasn't too happy. We had stormy weather, an eerie greenish glow in the sky which thankfully passed without event. The trucker went to bed, my mother got home.

I needed to process my thoughts. I have feelings of nostalgia, sadness, joy, gratitude and regret. So many, many more emotions after this kind of experience. One is tempted to consider the "What If's" in a situation like this, but even with all of the difficulties I have faced since we moved out of that house, I would not want it any other way.

Unfortunately, I was wearing the big neon sign on my forehead this evening that says "please disturb my peace and talk to me about random things". The text alternates with "please come in and turn on the TV, then walk away" and also "I didn't quite catch that the first 8 times you said it, please repeat it for me?"

Lucky for you, my inability to think clearly led me to write instead. And this post, completely unedited for your enjoyment (it's awkward and emotional, I don't want to reread it at the moment), is my attempt to settle my thoughts and make some sense of my emotions.

The house that I visited today was not my home. I felt a little disappointed that I didn't feel that immediate sense of 'home' that I sort of always expected to have if I ever went back there. I will convince myself that it is because of the changes that have been made, but the truth is more likely that it simply isn't my home. It was once, but it is no longer. It is a part of me, but now it can be someone else's new beginning. Even if I moved back into that house tomorrow, it would not be the same house. I am not the same person I was then. None of us are, not even my parents.

We moved out in the mid-eighties. The walls have been touched with many other hands since then. The floorboards have absorbed the histories of many other lives. The house is changed eternally, as am I. I would never say that it couldn't be my home again, just that it would never be the same home to me. Perhaps it would hold similar magic for my own children, but then again, they are all near or past the ages we were when we moved and it just might not.

I'm glad to have had the experience of going back there, and even more pleased that I was able to do it with my siblings who lived there with me. I can only imagine how they feel now, I hope it is still a positive fondness and not regret for them. I guess now I will have to go find the old photo albums and ensure that this visit doesn't distort my memories too much. In a small way, I think it may have been an opportunity I should have skipped.

I am grateful that there was a peaceful feeling inside the house. It was not a place of pain or tension for me. I have only good memories from that house.

Home really is found within each of us. Walls can contain it temporarily, but they do not possess it. Home moves with us, and there is nowhere to return to because we are already there.

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