It’s been a cool and cloudy day today. The kids had school today so the house was quiet, at least until noon when Little returned from preschool. He can’t remember doing anything today. He racks his brain, but nothing comes to mind.
We had the roof patched before Hurricane Matthew, but found 2 new leaks yesterday after the rains stopped. It’s an old tin roof and it does need attention. Things have a way of reminding you about that. We all need attention.
I actually slept in a bit today. I was up most of the night feeling quite agitated after watching the Presidential debate. Why I watched it I can’t say. I knew better. I was left with the same uneasiness and general malaise so many others have written about today. Mostly I feel embarrassed. Horribly embarrassed for our country, and I’m terrified of what may come.
What has happened to the common courtesy with which we treat each other? How about the decision to agree to disagree? Mutual respect? Public niceties which were so important once upon a time? Please.
I am so thankful, so grateful Mom and Dad did not live to see this come to pass.
The days always pass so quickly when I’m here. The kids are growing, they have their own interests and activities now. There’s Scouts and band practice. Eva and Little still like to play. There’s still the occasional squabble of course, but most days things run like a well oiled machine.
I recall how I bought this house ten years ago next month. The twins were 6 months. I received a good offer on my San Francisco house and I had fallen in love with this gigantic Victorian when I had spent a month here after the boys were born.
It was a lovely home. I could envision the sound of little feet on the floors and see happiness and Life (with a capital L) happening and thriving in this old house. This dwelling embodied love. It was meant to be I believed.
So we all moved in. There is nothing as beautiful as a house full of Life. I saw the first crawls, the first steps, I heard the first words. My life was coming full circle.
Over the next few years life continued to happen. My job layoff, taking a job in Saudi Arabia which was actually quite a lovely experience. Eva was born while I was gone. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that little girl! So I returned, took a job that was offered and plugged away as long as I could. There came a time when I had to admit to myself that I was not fulfilled by my work. I needed a change but jobs in my specialty are few and far between. When a version of my previous job in San Francisco was advertised I applied. I thought and agonized and thought. What should I do? Little CJ was only 3 months old. Emmy needed help. Could I, should I leave the little ones again for job satisfaction ? Of course, things are not really so black and white, life is much more complex than “life just happening.”
I’ve been in San Francisco now four years, much longer than I intended.
I come back here now to visit and realize this is no longer my house, not really.
I see my things all around me but I’m not here to enjoy them. I’m not a part of the household. The tempo of the household is set by the people who really live and breathe here. Not me.
I try to keep busy while I’m here. I read, I write, I help with kitchen chores, I cook occasionally. I clean a bathroom or two—there are five of them. I fold laundry. I rearranged the linen closet today, folding the linens just so, with the seams all going to the right, all symmetrically stacked in order of size. It once again strikes me it’s no longer my linen closet. Just like this house, I own the outward structure, the skeleton, but the contents are enjoyed and loved by others who call this place home.
I will be able to take a slightly early retirement in two months if I choose. I’ve been thinking, obsessing really, of coming back here to live. My dream has been to be here, to participate in that wonderful exciting Life, up front and center for the school programs, the ball games, to cheer the triumphs, laugh at all the ridiculousness and to wipe away the tears.
Emmy and Jason are thinking of moving. That’s absolutely the normal course of events. That’s what should happen. They’ve been holding the fort down in this old house while I’ve been gone. Jason has finished grad school. They, too, need to follow their bliss.
This house is too big for one person. Even in it’s loveliness I cannot imagine what I would do with myself in this monstrosity. There are a zillion things I’ve thought of redoing in this house. It could certainly use an overhaul.
This is my fear… the echoes of the children’s laughter and the memories of my family’s lives lived here, with or without me, would be present at every turn, every minute of every day.
The echoes and subsequent silence would eat away at my soul.
I’m left wondering, what shall I do? What would I like my life to look like? I think of how I want to concentrate my efforts, what kind of people I would like to surround myself with. Where do I want to settle? Where do I want my home?
I think of the stages of one’s life, especially a single parent as I was, how you start a career, raise your children, prepare them to leave the nest, applaud them as they do, finish your working days, then finally have time to do the things you’ve been waiting for, dreaming of your whole life. Of course there’s that small voice in my head that says “Oh my God, you’re going out to pasture.”
The thought of the next chapter of my life terrifies me almost as much as the thought of a President Trump does.
Sometimes I throw around these thoughts about home, about the what ifs in life with my friend Ron, whom I respect greatly.
Ron reminds me “I am home.”
“Come on, Ron” I say. ” That’s a line in a movie.”
“No” he says. “It’s true.”
Is there a yellow brick road? Is Oz just around the bend? Am I prepared for the journey?
Guess it’s time to buy some red tapping shoes, shine ’em up and ease on down, ease on down the road.
Home will be right there. I’ll count on it.