This weekend I went "home" for my mom's birthday. I stopped calling it home after I got married, usually calling it "Mom's house" or just "Delaware". But this trip was different. For the first time in a long time, I thought of it as home. And I was miserable leaving it. I went with Bebe, and we had such a good time. There were two big meals in my sister's garage with the radio blaring and the tables covered in newspapers: blue crabs, steamed shrimp, hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled veggies and local sweet corn. Even though I didn't get to eat much (too close to Bebe's bedtime), it was fun. On Sunday afternoon we all jumped in the pool, Bebe's first swim. She had a blast. There really wasn't much to our visit, just time with my family. But I didn't miss home. Not even a little bit. In fact, I cried when it was time to come back. I really didn't want to.
Why is home so hard? Walking around in my old back yard, I wandered over to the huge apple tree that was a victim of violent storms a few weeks ago. It had been ripped right out of the ground, most of its roots exposed. I feel a little bit like that, my roots unable to keep me grounded, so close to what I once knew, but unable to return. Our neighbor, my 6th grade teacher, died several years ago. His name is still on the mailbox, but no one lives there anymore. His wife remarried and moved away. The bushes in his back yard that used to be waist-high are now well over 6 feet. The trees are overgrown, the grass dying underneath, choked by the perpetual shade. I know we all have to move on, to grow and adapt; otherwise we'll end up choked by the world as it grows around us, over us. But I think we turn to home, or the idea of it, in times of stress and loneliness, in moments of uncertainty. I realize that I don't miss home. Rather, I miss what home used to be; or the ideal I choose to remember. I want that tree to be a sapling again, and those bushes to be low enough to hurdle. But I think more than anything, I want my roots to find solid ground. I want to see the sun. And I want The Ghost to turn back into The Saint.