Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Home and Home

I've been thinking a lot about home. Maybe it's because I spent a month away from it, or maybe because I was able to visit the home where I grew up, but it's been on my mind a lot the past couple of weeks. One of the most interesting things that came of our East Coast travels last month was a new perspective on where we live. If you've been reading for awhile, you know how much I love Arizona, but throughout my adult life I've always, always had a strong pull back to the East Coast.

Over many years and many family vacations we've visited and revisited the places in New Jersey, Vermont, and the surrounding states I spent my childhood in. And while doing so, I would almost always feel a desire to be there. I would come home from these trips wanting to look at rentals and real estate and talk to Hank about moving cross country. I would research the teaching certification process in New Jersey, or the doctoral programs at The University of Vermont. Dreams. When I take a step back I can see that there has always been a tiny sadness somewhere deep inside of me hinting at something unfinished out there. I moved at a tender, transformative age- right in the beginning of my teen years and about to finish middle school. The in-between years. I was lucky enough to have a great transition and really loved my new home in Arizona, but I can recall looking back to my old life, my old friends, and miss what was.

Perhaps that's why in my adult life I at times have had a hard time just saying goodbye or calling something "the end." I mean, I would do it, but internally it would always bother me. Over the years though I've managed to hone the fine art of letting go, and I'm pretty good at it now. It's easier for me to recognize something and say "okay, this season is done," and move on, although like anyone certain seasons or people or places can be harder to say goodbye to. But goodbyes are of course part of life...

So anyway, during our travels last month I had the opportunity to really immerse myself into the world I came from. We ate at our favorite places, drove down my beloved scenic roads, dipped our toes into the lake that's always made me the happiest. Nostalgia. For a whole month. But now, something was different. Gone was the longing to stay. Instead I felt happy to visit, this time with both of my boys, but I wasn't feeling a pull to pack up everyone and start a life in Shelburne, Jackson, or a million little towns in Maine. Somewhere along the past ten years, Prescott had officially became my home.

And it's weird because it really has felt like home for a lot of those ten years, but it wasn't until I was able to see how much I'd grown out of one thing and into the now that I accepted it. Or something like that. Regardless, it feels good to feel good about this. To feel like the dreams I have for my family are rooted securely somewhere solid, in a place we live in the town we call home. It's a relief to be where I want to be, and to know that I'm at a point in my life where I'm not wishing away my todays or tomorrows- I'm recognizing that some places are beautiful and magical via memory, and will probably always hold a special place for me, but in this season of our life, we're right where we should be. Right here at home.


  1. Love this! I had the opportunity to temporarily live in other countries, and I considered them "home" at the time, but knew I would always return to the place I grew up (home). I have lots of (permanent) expat friends and I think they share most of the feelings you've described here. The difficulty in those situations being that their entire side of the family literally lives thousands of miles away (that's the part I could never get passed). It is a really wonderful feeling to feel "at home" (whatever that means to you - it's different for everyone) wherever you are. <3

  2. Danielle, I've been reading for some months now, but have never commented before. But this post really got to me, because in your last paragraph, you hit on something I've been seeking for ages. I moved across Canada 10 years ago, from Ontario to the Yukon. I've recently moved back to my home town to be closer to family. I find myself missing so much about the north...I'm not sure if it felt like home, and here, in the city where I grew up, with family all around, I'm not sure I feel home, either. All of that is to say that I know that unsettled feeling, and I'm happy you've been able to move past it. Home should be wherever we are.

  3. I love this! You are such a beautiful writer, seriously one of my favorites! XO -Kim

  4. I am going to miss the Jersey Shore so so so much when I move to Florida. I'm moving so many great reasons and I am unhappy here in New Jersey for so many reasons... but still it hurts to leave our beach here. However, I can always visit. I hope to come home once a year to visit family and friends and do it at the Jersey Shore :)

  5. I just returned home (to DC-ish) from a 10-day trip 'back home' (to Portland, Ore.) where I grew up and can totally relate to this post, although in a slightly different fashion.

    I moved from PDX to DC 10 years ago when I was 19 and have loved being out here every minute. Each time I go back to PDX I HATE it. I feel obligated to go every few years because otherwise my parents and my kids would NEVER see each other, but the dread I experience going back to small-town Oregon is so real that it kicks in weeks before each trip. The east coast has no history in my family, except the one that I'm making for me and my kiddos with their dad and my girlfriend – day by day, as we go. I can absolutely imagine living elsewhere (in fact we're talking about raising the kids abroad once they hit high school ages and "home schooling" them in different countries around the world), but I could never move back to where I came from...I find much more happiness and fulfillment putting down roots and making home far, FAR away from 'back home.'

  6. I know exactly that feeling, as I have had much the same experience lately! Having grown up in Canada, I moved to England at a relatively young age, and there is a part of me that has always wanted to go back to live. However recently I went back to visit family, and that longing to stay was gone too. Somewhere in the past 5 years since my last visit, England has really become home for me. I don't know whether it's because my boyfriend is English, and my parents are settled here too, but I really do feel like I'm an English rose now!!