Going Home Is Hard To Do
I write this from the living room at my parents house. Upstairs, my room is just as I left it almost exactly 12 years ago when I moved away from home to go to college. The walls are still the same cornflower blue, glow-in-the-dark stars are stuck to the ceiling, and paintings and photos that remind me of my teenage years still adorn the walls. In the reading nook, covered by curtains, hangs a whiteboard on which I scribbled important dates - like that of the upcoming Backstreet Boys concert in 1999. Clearly a date to remember.
When I come home, as I have this week, things are still largely unchanged. But yet emotionally arriving here feels so much more draining. It is still a comfort to come home, yet I feel pulled in a million different directions - carefully measuring time spent with each of my divorced parents and my respective steparents, plus my two sisters. Then there are my grandparents - who at 76 and 74 years old seem to be aging even faster than my heart is willing to admit.
I moved to California almost exactly a year ago now - and leaving was brutal. I spent most of the month leading up to the move in tears - counting each and every "last". I have lived within a mile of my grandparents for most of my life, so not only was it hard to move so far from my parents, but to leave my grandparents whom I love dearly was crushing. There is nothing like putting 1800 miles between you and your loved ones to make you realize that your moments together are numbered. As morbid as that may sound, it is simply a fact - before I moved I couldn't even fathom a limited number of times that I would see my grandparents or parents - but now it is a simple truth that I must face.
It's not always an easy pill to swallow.
So, while coming home is a huge relief and a wonderful experience, this trip has been filled with a lot of emotion and tears as well. I can't help but think, as I hug each of my family members, that I'm not sure when I will see them again. Not only when, but let's face reality - if I will see them again.
I chose to move to California. Everyone else in my family has stayed close to home. They are at least within the state, if not within the same city. But I broke the mold and moved 1800 miles away. Sometimes, when I remember that simple fact, I feel incredibly selfish and overwhelmed. It's a feeling that I'm not sure will ever go away.
Homecoming - it may not be all it is cracked up to be. How do you deal with coming home again?