Ah, homeLet me go home
Home is wherever I'm with you.
-Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
I can just imagine Julia and my dad singing this song in the above picture. It's a song that makes me smile whenever I hear it. It makes me want to drive the country roads of my hometown with the window down. That's exactly what I did this weekend when I made the trip to Pennsylvania. After a long day at the Arts Festival, I took Julia and Charlie to my friend Becca's house, which was a wonderful trek along the roads that lead to my childhood home. Since miraculously, both kids were sound asleep in their carseats, I decided to take a little detour to travel past my old house. During the day I'd had the great opportunity to gather in Wilmington with some of our greatest friends and as I drove along I was able to reflect on the people that have walked this road with us. Having a child will do this to you - thrust you into this constant state of nostalgia...that's where I am right now (bear with me).
The interesting thing is the fact that on his first trip south, Charlie is seeing this from a whole different perspective. This isn't home for Charlie or Julia. They were both born in Springfield, Massachusetts. No matter where life takes them, Massachusetts will always be where it all started. No matter how much I tell them, they will always see things starting from the time they were born. The hard part of retelling this story for them is the fact that someone new lives in that house on the hill in Landenberg, the horses are on another farm, my elementary school, the place where I met my best friends is now a Charter school. Even Happy Acres, the old hometown restaurant has changed hands a few times and is now an Italian restaurant. I didn't frequent Happy Acres very often, but somehow I miss it. Then I realized that this reality of change is true whether I lived in Chester County or Massachusetts. Though many of my friends have the privledge of living in their hometown, life changes. It will be a whole new experience for our children.
So on the way home, I told the kids (Julia, since she may be able to retain some minscule amount of information and Charlie, because he is a captive audience and has a face that looks like it's in a constant state of wonder) about each and every meaningful and mundane spot along our route. They will always know how special this place is to me.
The greatest part about all of this brings me back to the lyrics of my favorite song. Thank God I have changed since my school days :), we all have. My friends have their own families, my family has evolved from moves up, down and around the US and our surrounding are constantly changing. There are few constants in life and so I have found "home" in the people that mean the most to us. They are home no matter where we are. I see this now as Julia embraces the people who mean the most to her. I may innundate her with stories about growing up and what has been special to me throughout my life, but ultimately she will create her own meaning. We all crave the familiar from time to time - I wonder what places my children will hold dear to their hearts and return to when they need a "home" fix. Even though they won't grow up in Chester County, my secret wish is that they will run along the trails of the Brandywine preserve, find their way to the river and feel as though this is a magical place embedded into their own childhood as it was in mine.
This was our first of many trips to Pennsylvania for Charlie. Thank you to everyone who made it special and thank you for being part of these special memories for all of us!
It's nice to be home.