My mom still lives in the house in which I was raised. Home. With the exception of the structure itself, there isn’t any part of it that resembles what it looked like as a child. Mom has changed the paint, the wallpaper, the furniture, the carpeting, the landscaping, pretty much everything over the years, little by little. It’s strange to think that as I got older I wasn’t ever really attached to it much…or perhaps I was, but just took its safety and comfort for granted.
Now, as a very grown-up woman who’s traversed the ins and outs of many houses and apartments, I do feel that my mom’s home, my old home, is a place I can go and truly receive respite when I need it. And, I know that I will have some good ol’ heart-to-hearts with Mom, encouraging me, understanding me, and providing me with that unconditional love we all long for and need.
My little one, on the other hand, has become extremely attached to the Yellow Submarine. Home. At some point within each week she exclaims vibrantly, “I love our home, Mommy! It’s just the best place for us, isn’t it? We have the best home on the block!” And, she means it. She’s been saying this to me since not so long after we moved here over three years ago. She says it and believes it faithfully. She also makes a point to tell me how much she loves her room, as well. Her polka-dotted, bunk-bedded, now kitten-inhabited room. When she comes home from visiting her dad for a weekend and gets to nestle under her own covers before heading to dreamland she always says, “I love my bed. It’s so good to be back in my own bed all cozy.” She giggles with excitement over the sensation.
Last week Maycee went to stay with my mom for her Thanksgiving break and also to see her dad. She was off the entire week. I was off the typical Thursday and Friday. It didn’t take but a few hours after arriving south that she was in tears missing me. My mom called to tell me she was so distraught. My heart sank and swelled at the same time. We had discussed what to do about the vacation days, and this was Maycee’s choice (the other was the Boys and Girls Club). But, regardless, her being, her core wished it was back home, and while my heart ached for her longing, I was humbled by it, also.
I made the decision to enjoy Thanksgiving at my mom’s this year, and so, I got to see my little one before she was picked up by her dad for their much-needed visit. Maycee didn’t want to go with him at first, she wanted to stay with me, asking why we couldn’t leave later that day. She was so eager to be done with vacationing. Plans were set, however, and so we cherished the couple of hours we had before yet another separation. We ate some yummy turkey, had a few laughs around the table, and later I even took a nap (respite). Finally, on Saturday, I was able to pick her up and bring her back…
It is true that “Home is where your heart is.” I know this because my heart has been in many different places over the course of the past two decades, and none of them was attached to a particular square footage of space. But, it is also sweet and comforting to know that this place, this Yellow Submarine, is Maycee’s home, and that her heart is vested here, along with everything else that reminds us of each other. Of our little life. And, now, for as long as I can possibly swing it, we will stay here and continue to create memories upon memories.
Perhaps some day this will be where Maycee returns to find respite when she is older, to eat turkey with family, and to take a nap. The outside may be a little more spruced up. The inside may reflect the changes of modern times. But the essence, as well as her mom, will be the same.