Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Home again home again jiggedy jig


I leave to return to Snohomish on Thursday morning. I have to admit, I can't wait. I've been bone tired lately. I don't think I realized how exhausting anxiety is. However, anxiety aside my dad is doing well and I am glad I was here to spend Christmas with him in Ohio.

It made me realize that there are words in my life that have changed meaning as I mature. "Love" is one of them, but I'll save that for another blog. Lately the word I realize has found new meaning in my life is the word "home".

When I was younger, home was always 410 Spruce Dr. Easy. I knew that when I had to go 'home' that meant getting on my bike, or the bus, or a car and going 'home'. Home is where my sister, my dad, my mom and my brother lived. Home was chaotic, but I knew what it meant. I knew where my 'home' was - it was where I felt most myself.

Then I went to college and moved out of my 'home'. Suddenly, that word didn't mean the same thing. I began to develop a 'home is wherever my suitcase is' philosophy. I tossed the word around like it was candy. I was in a hotel for work? No problem, that was home base for a while. I moved a lot, fell in love and eventually created my own 'home', then 'homes with others'. I went through different homes, different loves, my mother passed away, my father moved up to the lake... and all the time I called wherever I was staying 'home'.

But not having a solid 'home' in my life is no longer acceptable to me. In the last 7 years I have moved 10 times. That's CRAZY. It's no wonder I feel adrift. I think I've become afraid to 'settle' down because my life has been so chaotic and I haven't felt safe in my 'home' for at *least* 10 years. I haven't felt like I could really settle into a place and make it my own. For a while I desperately wanted to buy a house because I thought that would 'fix' my ache to have a place to call my own. To feel safe. To build a foundation. I mean, isn't that the real drive to 'own a home'? To have a place of respite where you feel safe? Some small piece of the world you know is yours?

This trip back to Ohio I realized I split a lot of my time between Ohio and Seattle. But my dad's house? Isn't my home. I may still use that term when I talk to dad,  "Okay dad, let's finish at the store and go home..." but it isn't my home.

I was worried I was going to have to move from the place where I now reside. I was having serious stress about it. I talked to the owners of the house and they assured me that even though they want to sell their house, they have no intentions of selling the house where I now live. And while I understand that life changes and people change and there is no way to guarantee 'safe', I realized how relieved I felt when I knew they weren't selling 'my' house. I want to stay in this house where I now live. It's possible I might buy it some day, but then, who knows, I may fall in love and run away to some exotic place with the new love of my life. (It could happen people, don't rain on my parade *lol*). However, in the meantime I want to stop preparing for moving. I want to unpack my boxes, clean out my garage, buy some nice bedroom furniture and settle in. I mean, over the last 3 years specifically, I have been afraid to buy furniture or create a beautiful house because I knew I would be moving. My 'house' didn't feel safe or a place of respite because there was too much tension and stress. I desperately wanted to feel safe and centered when I walked in my front door and I didn't. I changed the things that didn't make me feel safe and I realize that now? I have finally found a place I can call 'home'.

And because I'm ready to 'settle' into the house where I am living, I want to create a space that's safe and comfortable. I live near people I adore, I am close to work, no water view, but I can see the horses and the area is quiet. The house is perfect for me, if not a little big - I have a fireplace where I can curl up close to at night, I have an amazing cat that purrs and loves on me continually, my sister is nearby, I can go swimming any time I want, I have a hot tub and a nice large yard where I can have chickens if I want. I want to plant a garden next year and I have friends who love me and help me when I get called away to come to Ohio.

I have a 'home' and I find when I use that word now? It has a meaning it lost a long time ago. I have a place. A solid base of reference. I have a foundation from which I can move forward from with confidence. Yes, life can be unpredictable, but that doesn't mean I should fear creating a safe, warm and loving environment for myself. I can allow myself to trust again and hey -

Looks like I've finally come home.


Monday, December 13, 2010

It's about love...
and the ethnically correct Santa...


So, my hiatus is complete and I have returned to blogging. After a month of not writing my blog, I miss it. There is a comfort in reaching that 100 status and I plan on completing what I have started.

I wrote a blog for my 43rd birthday last Wednesday. I chose not to publish it, but it got me back into the spirit of writing. I can't promise every day like before, I have to travel again to Ohio and such...but for now? I'm going to dedicate myself to being healthy physically and mentally. Blog writing? Helps me with the mental piece and I'm swimming again for the physical piece, so little by little :)

I decorated my house this past weekend. I put up the Santa head that belonged to my mother from the 1950s. I put up my Christmas tree - my house smells so good. I am going to bake Christmas cookies this week and I made more apple butter. I put on my Christmas music... Andy Williams, Burl Ives, Brenda Lee... 
Hello, 'ethnically correct Santa'

And this week, in some of my classes. We're watching Christmas specials. Oh I know... Christmas is all commercialized. It's a crime. It's not about Christ... but Christmas to me? Wasn't really ever about 'Christ' or the presents. (okay *maybe* it was about the Christmas specials! Hermey, Yukon Cornelius, Heat Miser, etc. - I may have to do a blog JUST about Christmas specials!) I mean going to midnight mass was something I enjoyed doing as a kid... but as an adult I realize more and more that this holiday season is about love.

When I come home from work and see the Santa head above the fireplace in my house, I feel like the world is all in order. I love Christmas. I love the music, the food, the energy, the joy... I love the fresh tree and the decorating. I love how happy I feel. My sister and I aren't even buying gifts this year. I don't care. It's not about the gifts. It's about being together as a family. The past partners I've had in my life haven't really appreciated that in me. That need for family. That love of this time of year. The joy I have in singing to the Carpenter's Christmas album in my car... Seeing snow. The crisp air. They've rolled their eyes, insisted on a plastic tree, never ONCE helped me decorate the house. I was always saddened by this. Found myself feeling alone in my love for this time of year.

I recognize and appreciate all the traditions that are involved with this time of year. I know people who celebrate the solstice, who celebrate Hanukkah, who celebrate Sweet Lucia traditions , I don't know that I particularly care how people celebrate this season. What I care about is love and being part of a family.

In many ways, this time of year reminds me of how much I miss people I once considered family who are now, no longer in my life. You come to love people as part of your family and then life changes and those people are no longer your 'sister' or your 'mother' or your 'dad' or 'brother'. It becomes odd because your former partner has moved on and it is awkward trying to figure out how those people still fit in your life. You don't love them any less, certainly. I always send them love at this time of year - even if we don't see each other or get to talk. And for those, like my mom and grandparents, who are no longer in my life physically, but who never leave my heart, they are remembered as well.

Family. It is why I love this time of year. Because when I see my dad walking and getting stronger every day, I realize how close I was to not having him here this year. When I look back at how wonderful and supportive my extended family was when my sister and I were going back and forth between the hospital and our beds? Some of which I haven't seen in so many years, still opened their homes and hearts. When my sister sits next to me at Penn and Teller and we just look at each other and laugh because we don't even need to speak, I am grateful for having an incredibly precious bond with her. Because the people I work with feel like family and this time of year I feel so appreciative of my job and the people that work so hard to make our school the warm, inviting, caring and supportive place it is. And because 'you' read my blog - whoever 'you' are, I am grateful to you. For loving me, for leaving me notes, both here and in my 'inbox', and for all the support and joy you've brought me in my life.

Because this holiday season, in my life, is all about love.