My upcoming move to Baltimore overwhelms. There is the usual stress involved in wondering which items to bring, which to pitch, which will need to be purchased anew. There is excitement pondering the future of the garden, what will pop up from the soil, what needs to be pruned out and sawed away. There is the joy–and stress–of change, the excitement of a new palette to make mine. Color wheels and rugs and window coverings to contemplate.
And there is grief. Grief in packing up and leaving a town I’ve lived in for 18 years. The town where I raised both children, and the only town one child has ever known. Lea is filled with sadness; she feels unmoored, no familiar place for her to retreat to: her childhood home, her grandmother’s home, her Nana’s home, even her Aunt Diane’s home—all gone. Which makes me wonder—what is home?
Talking with Lea last night made me realize I also feel unanchored. Rootless. Too much change, especially uncertain change, makes me stressed and irritable. Like my daughter, I have no familiar place to return to, no place to plop my feet up on an ottoman and relax. We humans, like all mammals, have a need to nest. I want to surround myself with familiar comfort and I want that environment to happen instantly in the new house. I want it for my children, and I want it for me.
My mom’s recent death amplifies my sense of homelessness. I will never return to her house for Christmas or Easter. These were the times we traveled to North Carolina (this weekend, now, we should be in the car journeying South), the traffic between DC and Richmond filled with travelers commencing to family and the beach. But there is no family home to travel to, and my children are too old for Easter egg hunts with their cousins. So the grief also is of lost time, past time, of memories that will remain just that—memories.
Meditation helps me understand that home, like my thoughts, exists in past, present, and future. I cannot bring back my former homes except in memory, and I cannot know what my next home will be like next year, week, or day. And each time I find myself worrying and wondering about what home was and what home might be takes me away from what home IS now. This second. And this second.
So I will breathe, accept and let go, and try to embrace my home, whatever and wherever it is, now.