Wednesday, January 4, 2012



It’s a small word. Non assuming. Just four little letters that every kindergartener knows. So simple, and yet it has the potential to make me weep.

I’ll never forget the first time I heard a song by this name, sung by an adorable artist named Michael Buble. Its lyrics cut through my soul and immediately emptied out the reservoir of tears I hold in my heart.

May be surrounded by
A million people, I
Still feel all alone
I just wanna go home
I miss you, you know.

The first time I heard it, and it’s achingly beautiful tone and melody, I cried for my mom. For almost two decades she was my home. And I miss her, so desperately. She left the planet when I was in my mid 20’s- a new wife, a new mom, a brand new adult. I had planned to know her in a new way, and a sudden stroke took her from me.

With her loss came a loss of home. She was the glue that kept our family together. She’d organized our huge household for decades, and she put the magic in every holiday. I instantly felt at home, with every greeting that met me at her front door. I can still hear her voice, calling out in pure joy, as I’d come home from college. “Ju - deeeee! My Judy’s home!”

They’re three simple words I miss, as much as I miss the home base she embodied.

I envy my friends, who still have their parents, and because of it, their home bases. My dad remarried an amazing woman, who keeps him healthy and happy. But their home together is a place I visit, not a home I return to.

Let me go home
I’m just too far
From where you are
I wanna come home

And so I was forced to move on, and create my own sense of home. For the past decade and a half I’ve thrown myself into making a nest that my children can feel safe in. We’ve changed houses, moved from state to state, but my first priority, even before the moving truck shows up, is making my children feel at home. I want them to remember how my voice was filled with adoration as each one of them walked in the door, whether their bedrooms were unpacked yet or not.

Home. It sometimes takes a while. In our Utah house, the newest house we’ve ever owned, we were settled in quickly. Surrounded by a street full of friendly families, we felt very at home, in a few short months.

Then we bought our fixer upper in New York. It took several years to feel like we belonged there, as we tore down walls, sanded sheetrock, and built a new kitchen from the ground up. All four kids were in school, from kindergarten to ninth grade, and life got crazy. There was little time to do the things that make someone feel like they’re home. Many holidays came and went, and as we built new traditions, surrounded by those specific walls, home started to grow on us.

And here we are again. The New York house now has a new family creating their own memories surrounded by its renovated walls. Our furniture has been cleared out and moved to storage. Our pictures no longer hang on the walls. The only hint that we once lived there is the growth chart scratched in the dining room trim board. It snakes up the wall, a reminder of all the growth that took place there.

Another airplane
Another sunny place
I’m lucky I know
But I wanna go home
Mmm, I got to go home

Home. It’s time to find it again. We’re in a new state, a place that we love, but we still feel like visitors. The skiing is great. The views are amazing. But we don’t feel like we’re home yet. It doesn’t help that we’re stuck in a very small condo, the six of us trying to make do until better arrangements can be made. We were sucked dry by the New York house sale, financially, and it just might make sense to stay put, in this lower cost living situation, as we try to recover. But we’ve already been here since August, and we are all ready to move out, move on, to find our new nest.

Another winter day
Has come and gone away
In even Paris and Rome
And I wanna go home
Just let me go home

We’re still crunching the numbers. Technically we could go ahead and find the rental house we’ll call home, until we recover all the equity we lost in the house sale. But the bite it will take out of our monthly budget could be used, at least for now, to pay down the debts we owe from our nightmare year of 2011. It’s a hard decision to make. Move into a more home-like place, and be in debt forever, or make this arrangement work, and get on top of the finances faster.

We all crave home. I crave it when I’m reminded of things my mother is missing, with every year that my children change and grow. But I also miss it, as my children do, when it applies to our everyday surroundings. Having a place that feels like ‘your own’. Having somewhere that you can let your hair down at the end of a hard day. Having somewhere that’s filled with people who know you well, but love you anyway.

This week we’ll decide. Either we’ll extend our contract on this small condo or we’ll find a more permanent rental house in town. Both decisions come with big implications. But I’m telling you this - if we decide to stay in this place, this lovely small space that has always felt temporary to me, there will have to be some changes made. We will use a bit of money to tweak this place, to personalize it, to turn it into a place that isn’t just a safe place to sleep and eat.

We need, we crave, something that feels like home.

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