I got to be home for three days in a row. When I am traveling I think a lot about being home. I imagine that when I am there everything I do will feel homey and good. But the home feeling is a fleeting kind of thing. You want to grab hold of it, and you might think about it when you are away. But when you get there the stacks of bills are piled up, the phone cord is broken and needs replacing, ( or you have to hold it just right during all your calls), and the rotted porch steps that the guy who owes you some money is bartering off are still in a tangled pile. Instead of feeling comfy and close you wind up feeling irritated and antsy.
This weekend started off with all of those rough patches. But then, the sun was shining when rain was predicted. Our daughter called from college, and she’d had a lousy day. Finals were looming and she was feeling worried and stressed. She probably needed to come home for a day or two of attention, but didn’t think she should. John overheard me talking to her, and called out that he’d meet her halfway and Bam!, the home feeling was right back in the room with all of us. Her little brother said he’d come too, and she told us she was heading out to her car right then that minute. Eli grabbed her dog and they all met an hour and fifteen minutes later in Brattleboro. I whipped up a big batch of cookie dough. I made a few cookies, but I left most of the dough in the bowl for her. Then her big brother ran to the grocery store and pretty soon the kitchen smelled like the BBQ slow roasting in the oven, fancy deviled eggs, and butter and sugar. It all smelled like home.
We sat out on the porch and ignored the pile of wood while we soaked up the last of the sun. There were storm clouds rolling in, and so we carried up a bunch of wood for a spring fire. We decided to run out and rent some movies. Everybody agreed that what we needed was a good thriller. We turned out all the lights, built the fire, carried in fluffy comforters, and scared ourselves silly in front of an old reliable movie. We had fresh milk from the cows up the road and a plate full of warm cookies for company. The feeling of home was in us and all around us. We were all filled with a sweetness for this time and this place with these people.
I went to sleep imagining August when we will all pick blackberries from the bushes down by the meadow, and the fat juicy pies I will make for us as we sit on the newly restored porch. Surely by August……I remembered other springs with high school girl’s softball and baby chicks. And I thought about this one. There’s a kid coming really close to graduating from college and another one who is about to finish her first and probably toughest year. The little one is not so little but still loves to go to the river when it is wild with snow melt and the thrill of the new season. I can sit in the sun with my book while he runs with the dogs, and he can make his way to his friend Timmy’s house through a deep wood all by himself. John and I are planning a garden. We might add more baby chicks, and with everybody laying there will be lots more deviled eggs and frittatas for breakfast. Everyone will be home this summer. And like the other night, on some of those days we will all feel it at the same time.
Where do you live, where is your home? These are profound questions. Home is that place that gives you a feeling of warmth and memory. It conjures bare feet on summer grass, porch music, fireflies, soccer practice, snow angels, roaring fires and hot cocoa. My home is with these four other people. I choose them and they choose me right back. Now that is a whole bunch of lucky…..