Tag Archives: home

Home for the Holidays

You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame … back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory. ~Thomas Wolfe

I am the adult child of a divorce.  (Is anyone ever the adult child of something great?  People are adult children of alcoholics and divorce and of narcissists according to Google but it seems there are no adult children of the well adjusted?)

Unlike many of my peers that struggled with a divorce as a young kid,  my family shifted after I was old enough to have already left the house.  I was in my early twenties when I was smacked in the face with the reality that my parents were their own people and perhaps their function in this life was not to wait by the front door to welcome me home bi-monthly.  There were growing pains and tears and eventually there were new family structures.

When my father sold the house I grew up in (affectionately dubbed the “free storage facility”) it was official.  I could no longer “go home again.” Boxes of notes from middle school, old prom dresses and family pictures were distributed to their rightful owners and it was over.  I drive by the “old house” sometimes and it feels weird.  My life was in that house.  My family.

Fast forward fifteenish years and here I am in a house with my own family.  A husband, two kids and a dog and a Christmas tree.  One would think I would no longer lament that original loss. But in the darkest hours, in the moments I am  flopped on my bed with over-tired, red swollen eyes and feel like I need a good cry I often say “I just wish I could go home.  To my mom and dad.”

1504079_10201924620548844_1484615996_nThat is what being an adult child is, I guess.  Instead of “I want my Mommy & Daddy!” the “adult” child laments the loss of their childhood in some way or another.  The “well-adjusted” adult child dries their eyes and doesn’t use the pain of being an adult anything as an excuse to be an asshole. Or at least that is what I aim for in my pursuit of being well-adjusted.  Try not to be an asshole.  I have lofty goals.

A few weeks ago I had a very emotional round of phone calls that resulted in an opportunity to go home again.  Thomas Wolfe says you can’t go “back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting” but when you realize that you will be having Christmas morning in your home with both your mother and your father for the first time in a long time and you never, ever thought you’d have that again… well, you get a little verklempt.

keep austin weird

I spent a few days trying to wrap my mind around it.

I mentioned to a friend that I don’t know how to process things I can’t write about.  The circumstances aren’t my story to tell.  I do my best to be respectful of my friends and family and find a balance between my compulsion to share my story with the world and the privacy of those that don’t. It’s a shame really because I had a great working title to the blog post – “The Christmas That Was Just Like Austin.”

I thought it would be weird.  I thought it might be sad and nostalgic and tense and wonderful. I thought I might go all Hayley Mills in Parent Trap only with wine instead of a twin sister as my devious counterpart.  But mostly I thought it would be weird.

I am sitting at my kitchen table drinking coffee this morning and I have no house guests. The Christmas tree has been taken down, the gifts have been relocated to their proper locations. Both of my parents have returned to their respective houses.

I can’t find the words.  This week we will all crawl out of our holiday holes and someone will casually asks me “How was your Christmas?”  I suspect my eyes will well with tears and I will say simply “It was great.  We stayed home.”



A Not So Very Big Deal Kind of Day

“I just realized I should have called you before I did this… but I gave away our crib today,” I said, as soon as he answered the phone.

“Just get a picture before you take it apart,” he said.20130701-143311.jpgIt wasn’t all the way apart.  And to be honest, this is as “in the crib” as Lucy ever got in the last two years.  So, it was kind of a non-event.

I took apart the crib and gave it away.

That sounds like a Big Deal, like a milestone.  “Awww, hold old is your baby? Is she moving in to a toddler bed?”

The “baby” is not even 18 months old but it doesn’t make any sense to keep stuffed animals in a gigantic cage.  In fact, I am not even really sure why we had so many damn stuffed animals and I gave away a trash bag of those today, too.

She isn’t moving in to a toddler bed.  In fact, when she moves out of our bed and in to her own it will be a step down.  She will be moving from a King to a Queen.  Poor kid.20130701-143303.jpg

I briefly considered looking at bedding online.  But it is hard to find whimsical kid bedding in a Queen size.  I spent a year and a half wedged in a twin bed with Emily when she “moved in to her own bed” and I am not making that mistake again. So, a Queen size bed it is for this kid.

And really, by the time she moves in to her own room she probably won’t want a whimsical kid room, anyway, right? I should probably get some kind of side table so she has a place for her cup of coffee, huh? I’m guessing she will be reading and drinking coffee by the time she moves out of our room.  She has a comfortable chair; she just needs a table.  Kid will be Virginia Woolf’ing it up by her 17th birthday, max.  But I am ready.

In the meantime, we are booking the Guest Room for the remainder of the summer season.


Going Home

Home.  I think about it frequently. I write about being a stay at home mother.  I write about making a home for my family.

I grew up in only two houses.  Home was a physical and unchanging place for more than twenty years. In the last ten years I have moved more than I had previously in my entire life.  In the last five years alone I have moved three times.  This house, this home where I am now, we moved while I was pregnant.  When we brought Lucy home and our family was complete, I knew we were home for good.

This week I am packing up the car again.  I am taking the girls to the beach. Mention to a grocery clerk or an acquaintance “heading to the beach” and they might not even notice the melancholy tone.  The beach.  The beach is vacation and sunscreen and smiles all around, right?  But long ago, the beach was home.

I became a mother at the beach.  I brought Emily home at the beach.  Home.  I miss the sand and the salty air in the morning. I miss the long, flat roads for running. I miss my friends and the seafood and my family.

This week much of my ex-husband’s family will gather at the beach.  My family.  Waiting on the birth of a new baby we will grill hot dogs and laugh and soak up the sun.  Some time  this week  I will put Lucy in the jogging stroller and I will take a nice long run down Bay Drive. I will turn down Third Street and as I get closer to my turn, my old street, my feet will slow.  I will ready myself.  And I will run by my old home.

My family is still my family. The beach will still welcome me with the promise of sandy feet and the tight feeling of salt water dried on my skin.  The long, flat roads with a cool breeze in the morning will be there. But my home? It isn’t my home anymore.

I hope it is home to someone. I hope there are flowers on the porch and bicycles in the driveway.


Happy Anniversary, MQD

At the beginning of a fairy tale you might not even have met the prince yet.  If you’ve met him you definitely haven’t seen him slay a dragon.  He hasn’t slipped a glass slipper on the princess yet.  He hasn’t spun the princess around the dance floor. It is just the beginning.

Two hours after I met MQD I knew that he was funny.  Two days after I met him I knew that he was kind.  Two weeks after I met him I knew that I was smitten.  Two months in – I was head over heels in love.  And now we have been married for two years.

And it is still the beginning.  No dragons have been slain.  We haven’t danced at the ball.  Our story is still unfolding.  I love him more than I did yesterday.  I will love him even more tomorrow.  When the dragons come I will love him still more and we will face them together, hand in hand.

I love you


Someday, after the dragons have come and gone, when the glass slippers have lost their lustre, we will dance in the kitchen in the quiet for hours and it will be more grand than any ball.  In the meantime, we will sneak a quick kiss when we can, we will have a dance and let the dishes sit, we will raise our children in a home filled with laughter and love and kindness and joy and we will be grateful.  Because fairy tales don’t always come true.  But sometimes, sometimes they do.  And it is only the beginning.  Happy Anniversary, MQD.  I love you more every day.  My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.



Christmas in the Cackalackey


Sometimes the spirit moves you slowly.  In years past the Christmas spirit has crept in on little cat feet like Carl Sandburg’s Fog. Christmas usually comes in slowly.

This weekend it was unseasonably warm.  I didn’t expect the spirit to grab me. I was in the produce section at the grocery store.  I cruised right by the poinsettias.  I didn’t bat an eye at the paperwhites.  It was almost 65 degrees outside.  I was wearing flip flops.  Christmas was coming.  But it wasn’t coming today.

Christmas candy

And then I saw them.  All at once two things happened. The Christmas Spirit seized me.  And I was an old, old woman.

I don’t think these Christmas candies have ever looked good to me before.  But I wanted them.  I am blaming it on Sudden Onset Christmas Spirit Disorder and not some kind of rapid aging.

I resisted the candies.

But it was a close call.  As I walked through the grocery store I had the fully formed thought “I should really keep my eyes open for some kind of a crystal dish.” A crystal candy dish?  I have small children.  I am in my mid thirties, I am in my sexual prime, dammit!!  A crystal candy dish??!! The Christmas Spirit works in mysterious ways.

Hours later the spirit had grabbed hold of me. The tree was up. The mantle is half decorated.  Rudolf is hanging on the wall.    I had the girls take naps so we could decorate the tree in the evening and not stress bedtime.     It was shaping up to be a good day.  The tree would go up in a corner I could gate off. It is possible that Lucy will not crush herself or ruin 36 years of ornaments.  I was wearing a velour sweat suit.  MQD was out with his father to watch football.  The windows were open.  Chili in the crock pot.  I didn’t dare ask the Universe for another thing.

Lucy was running like a drunken linebacker with her hands up.  It is a text book bum rush.  I glanced at her and back to what I was doing, I had a few seconds before she would slam in to my legs. “Mamamamamaaaa….” I wasn’t sure I’d heard it until I looked to Emily.  Her mother’s girl, her eyes were wet and already leaking “Mom!!! She said Mama!”


I dropped to the floor and tried to hold her in my arms, to drink in this baby that is growing before my eyes.  She was in a hurry.  She had things to do. I let her go.  My baby had called for me.  I was Mama.

The day carried on.  We took showers.


We put on Christmas pajamas and we decorated the tree.


The Christmas Spirit has grabbed hold of Mama by her ankles and it is pulling me under.  I might not come up for air for the entire month.  This evening when MQD and his father walked in to the house I was peace.  I was love.  I was goodwill.  

There is only one spirit stronger than the Christmas Spirit.  

And damn if they didn’t stroll in the house with some. Now excuse me, I need to kick back and watch a Christmas movie and sip a little shine. Christmas spirit is swell.  But the white lightning is the spirit that warms me head to toe.



The car is all packed.  I am sure I forgot something.  Heading to the beach for a week with the girls while Dad and Fisher hold down the fort.  I will miss my husband.  My own bed. My rocking chair.  And these babies that were born this past weekend on my front porch.

I hope MQD’s girls don’t seem so big to him after a week.  I am sure my babies will be all grown up.  They may even have left the nest by the time we get home.  20120618-182301.jpg





Easy like Sunday Morning

20120415-080841.jpgSunday morning in my rocking chair. Baby girl has fallen back asleep on my chest. Big girl is outside playing and I can hear her laughing. My sweet husband has fallen back to sleep after his morning snuggles with his little lady.

There is nowhere I’d rather be. Absolutely nowhere.

Sometimes I write because I want to remember a specific moment. And sometimes I sit down to write because I feel so much that I know something real might come out if I let it. Right now? Tapping letters on my phone, looking around me to find a picture to describe this moment. There is nothing. No words, no image to capture a moment Iike this.

That’s all I’ve got this morning. Me. And Lucy. And the quiet of the morning broken up by the laughter of my first favorite girl. This is it. If this is as good as it gets I’ll take it.