it’s not my home

home, hometown, life, move, moving

Until a few weeks ago I always thought of my hometown as my home.  There never was a difference between the two for me.  While I was there passing through, I realized that it is my hometown.  And not my home.  It may have to do with that my parent's house finally sold.  Or that I haven't lived there in 10 years.  Or that every time I visit the town it's more desert-worn, wind-blown, and just plain tired.  

But I believe it also has to do with my frame of mind: I know that place with never be my home again.  It won't be the place I return to grow a successful career and raise my children.  It was a wonderful place to grow up but it can't provide the opportunities I want for my future astronauts, engineers, artists, and athletes.

That place is no longer my home. Just my hometown.

Looking back on when I moved to Utah 6 1/2 years ago, I knew I wouldn't be here forever.  At the time, it was about us and we, and maybe our individual feelings about our place of residence were things we should have been more open about. Though neither of us really knew the bumpy road that was ahead of us and what life would bring.

I've stayed here for 3+ years since we became me.  I've enjoyed it here, everything from the weather to the recreation to places I've lived and the people I know.  I suppose I haven't taken advantage of the social experiences I could be having, being in this place has been more about stability and what is familiar. There are parts of me that love this place.  Those same parts would be just as happy and at home in Colorado, Wyoming, California, New York, Connecticut, and Vermont.  And I'm sure a few other places too. But honestly, this place has some wacky politics that make me want to tear my hair out. I'd like to live somewhere that isn't so cooky.

It's the people that have made this place home.

I had a very sudden realization this summer… home is where I am.  Home is where my stuff is.  And even then, it's just stuff.  It's the parts of me that make this apartment my home.  Not the history I have here or the future it will bring me.  It's home because I live here.  

Home could be on the side of the road during a 2 month road trip.  Home could be a studio apartment in the city.  Home could be a lawn with a fence and a mailbox.  It doesn't matter what or where.  As long as I'm there the place will be home for me.  

I find myself thinking frequently of the next place I will call home.  Where will it be?  Who will I meet?  What will I experience?  I look forward to the new experiences in a way I haven't ever before.  I don't feel the urgency to pack up and run across the state line, but I am feeling the peaceful acceptance that my time here is done.  I'm ready to move on.  


the house that built me

Boron, California, childhood, goodbye, growing up, home, Joshua Trees, life, memories, memory

Joshua TreesMy parents recently sold the house I grew up in.  Not just me, but all 6 of us were raised in the same house.  We all spread our wings and left the small town.  Always to come back and visit, to regroup, to find our center, to come back home.

Now that house belongs to someone else.  Another person’s kids will slip candy into the bedroom through the slit in the screen.  Someone else’s daughter will steal her brother’s hot wheels and bury them in the dirt under the swing.  Some other dad will buy his daughters too-short skirt from her and use it as pipe insulation.


A different family will sit around the kitchen table and talk and laugh for hours.  They might even throw dinner rolls across the table that accidentally land in a glass of milk.  Another little girl will play poor people at the bottom of the stairs with her bestie and taste the honeysuckles that grow over the neighbor’s fence.  Another girl’s dad will make waffles on Saturday morning for her and her little sleepover friends.


Someone else will watch the big cottonwood trees fall over when the wind blows.  And be frustrated with the chimney that doesn’t draw right.  And deal with the birds that fall into said chimney and end up fluttering frantically producing a sound very similar to nails on a chalkboard. Another little girl will build mud pies and another teenage boy will dig holes the size of swimming pools.  Someone else’s mom will step on an inch-long sticker from the blasted sticker tree.

IMG_0066Part of me wants to give the new family a tour of the house.  Y’know, show them how to treat it properly.  Like using the garage door instead of the sliding glass door.  And that they can’t take down the paneling in the front room because it’s real wood.  And when the water gathers into puddles on the patio it gets slippery.  My butt remembers the pain.

I want to tell them it’s little secrets.  Like the tongue-sticking-out-face on the plywood from the strike in the 70’s that was used to build the garage roof.  And if you look at the base of the first pillar of the patio you’ll see the year it was finished.  And somewhere under the stairs to the master bedroom is a jar of things important to small children.

IMG_0073The fact that it’s no longer my house makes me sad.  There are plenty of special people to visit in that small town, I can always go back.  But I won’t be going back to my house.  To sleep in my room.  In my bed.  Because it isn’t mine anymore.


No more running to the end of the street to wave at the departing visitors passing on the freeway.

This becomes less about the house itself, and more about the memories of the home. It was someone else’s house before it was ours, and now it moves on for another family to make it a home. And while I’d like to go back home one more time to smell the first time the swamp cooler turns on and see the sunset after the August thunderstorms and feel the pine needles poke my toes and eat one more meal around the table, the house is just a house.  It became our home because we were there, and home is wherever we are. Because a house is just a house.

Goodbye house.  We’ll miss you.