Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I'm feeling a lot better, although some days are better than others.
Yesterday was a fine day. My daughter and I went to town and shopped for a few things for the new apartment she's about to move into and we had lunch and I was just generally in a good mood and found myself smiling and laughing and just generally being happy, which feels at once "normal" and a miracle, both at the same time.
And today? Not so great. I just remembered that I hadn't taken my antidepressant yet today and I suppose that could be the reason, but I think not. I think it has more to do with my daughter and the fact that she's moving out again, taking a few bigger steps into her real, own life and it makes me think of myself when I was her age.
I moved away from my home in central Florida to go to college in Denver when I was eighteen and except for a few vacations, I essentially never returned. Home for me wasn't a place where love washed the corners, if you know what I mean. It was a place where the corners were dark and the secrets were many and too big to confront and I wanted nothing more to do with that place, although I missed my baby brothers so much that it was painful.
I used to dream that my parents would be killed in some freak accident and I would be given custody of those boys. I wanted to bring them into the light and raise them. I wanted to feed them good food and pour love all over them like golden honey and rock them to sleep at night and let them become little hippie boys and learn to grin from the heart and play in the woods and I wanted to teach them to trust and let them grow and become who they were meant to be, instead of scared little shadows slipping along the walls, hoping not to be noticed by their father.
But no one died and they, too, left that house as soon as they could and never went back. None of my siblings ever returned home to live after leaving. It just never occurred to us to do that.
On the other hand, all of my kids have returned home, at one time or another. I'm sure it wasn't exactly what they wanted to do, but I don't think it was too painful for them. People may bitch and moan about "yo-yo" children, but honestly, home is a good place to be if you need a good place to be and life has thrown a monkey wrench into the game plan. Things happen. Break-ups and marriages, problems that require a haven, a harbor, a temporary place to go where there's always a place at the table and clean sheets and people who love you, no matter what.
People who love you. No matter what.
And I think my kids know, no, I am certain that they know that wherever I am, that place will be there for them.
A place to be when feet need to be gotten back underneath them, when hearts need to be mended, when souls need to be tended.
I wish I had had that.
And perhaps that's where my sadness comes from today.
I never had that.
And I think I've spent my entire life regretting that, longing for it, and trying to create it.
Somehow, through some miracle, I believe I have and although I never want my children to suffer heartbreak or hardship, I know those are part of life. And I am so grateful that they have brought themselves home when those things occurred in their lives. I am more than grateful that they knew they could.
That they know they can.
Perhaps if I had had such a place, I wouldn't have to just blindly blunder down so many wrong paths by myself. If I had had a place to go for a time-out, to get my thoughts together, my head on straight, I wouldn't have made some of the mistakes I've made.
Or maybe I would have. Or made different ones. Who knows? It's all moot at this point.
But as my daughter leaves again, trying out those sweet damp wings, I can't help but grow a little teary; I can't help but confuse her leaving with my own so long ago.
I was fleeing, when I left and I went as far away as I could and I hoped never to have to return.
She is taking a short hop down the interstate and into town and I know she'll be back, over and over again because she loves this place that her daddy and I have made. This nest that we've created for her, for her sisters and her brother. She is not fleeing. She is flying towards her life and that girl? She is not afraid. Oh, she has her moments when she doesn't know what she wants to do, exactly and despairs that already, at nineteen, she isn't on the path she needs to be, doesn't know what her life plan should be.
"Oh honey," I tell her. "Who does?"
Only the lucky few, I think. The rest of us go along, falling into this or that, making our way as best we can.
And usually, it all works out.
And when the times come when it isn't, there's always home.
And each of them are in the process of learning to make their own homes. The ones they will perhaps raise their own children in. And I'm sure that those homes will be filled with love because my children know about love.
I bought a rocking chair the other day. It's not a great rocking chair and I already have quite a few rocking chairs, but this one called to me. It's upholstered and it's so comfortable. When you sit in it, you just feel comforted.
I showed it to my husband, that sweet wise man, and he sat in it and agreed that it was indeed, a most comfortable chair with a good rock. He patted the arms and said, "This is a grandmama chair."
My eyes opened wide and I realized- he was completely right. I'd bought a grandmama chair.
As far as I know, I have no immediate need for such a thing, but someday, someday.
Someday my kids will come home, not because there's a problem or a need for retreat, but because there's a baby and they'll want to visit and share the miracle that baby will be. They'll want that baby to learn what grandmama's house smells like and looks like and feels like.
And I will sit in my grandmama chair and I will rock that miracle, that baby and I'll lean over and whisper in that tiny, pink, tender seashell of an ear, "Welcome home, baby."
And I'll know that somehow, some way, I have traveled all the way from being that girl who fled a house where she never wanted to return, to this place where returning is a joy.
Because I have a home. And when I think about that, I can't help but feel the sadness lift and maybe, that feeling my chest is the rustling of tiny wings of hope, the tiny wings of satisfaction that no matter what, I have done something right. I have made some wonderful decisions in my life (Mr. Moon!) despite some very bad ones.
The chair is patient, it is waiting.
And I'm home.