“Home” is a foreign concept to me. Don’t worry- this isn’t a sob story. It just isn’t a real thing to me. Growing up, my mom would get bored a lot.. and unlike normal people who would maybe redecorate a room or put an addition on, my mother would decide that we needed a new house. A whole new house. She’d get bored and couldn’t handle the itch, so we would pack up belongings and head to the next place. I remember several moves where we had not even unboxed items from the last move, and we discovered them as we were loading the moving truck again (by moving truck I mean we saw the movers come in and pick it up, my mom also didn’t believe in manual labor.)
Before I turned 18, I had lived in over 13 homes. My parents were divorced, my dad’s moves were always improving- he lived in a one bedroom apartment for the longest time, then upgraded to a two, rented a house with a buddy, and then finally bought his home- the closest thing to a “childhood home” I’ll ever know
So today, I’m thinking about the home that I share with my husband and kids. 12 is convinced that I am trying to destroy his childhood by forcing us to move, in reality, we have outgrown the space of that house. We cannot fit two dogs, two children, two adults and all of our belongings in our 3 bedroom house with no dining room.
So we are looking to move.
There is a part of me that wishes I had this childhood place to retreat back to, you know, if my family and I were to visit my parents- it would be great to say “this is the room that I slept in every night until I was 18 years old. it’s where I cried over boys and learned to play guitar, I watched my favorite nick at night shows and played dress up by myself.” but that just can’t happen.
There is a large piece of me that despises the house that I live in, I have a hard time calling it “home.” I remind my husband of it most days, if he’s being lackadaisical about helping me get the house ready to sell. It’s hard to walk into a house that the boys’ mom has lived in, a house that the older two’s mom has even lived in. It’s hard to walk into the house that these kids all took their first steps in and have fought each other in, cried in, laughed in, done weird things with poop (long story….) in, fallen down and scraped their knees- to have their mothers kiss them and make them better. It’s hard to think about each bedroom in our house and what memories lie within their walls.
I would like a home that is new to us. That has rooms that we got to choose for ourselves, not the rooms they know as their own. I would like to go through the kitchen cabinets and decide, with my husband, where the cups go, which drawer the utensils belong in and where to put the paper towels.
I would like to walk into a room and have it feel fresh, not drenched in their memories from a time that I wasn’t around. I can’t help that I wasn’t there, it just wasn’t my time.
Sometimes, the kids will point at a place in the living room and laugh and say “remember when…!” and realize that I’m not their mom. Or they’ll say it to their dad and see that I get overwhelmed with a sadness that I can’t explain. Last night, 12 was being silly and trying to be granted permission to have beverages in their room (moot cause, they will never be allowed to do this). My answer is always “It’s my room. I make the decisions. The entire house is mine. I choose. I clean it. It’s mine.” or something like that. And he followed up with “This has ALWAYS been our room! it’s been our room forever!” and his voice trailed off. while I said “no, dad and i had it as our room the first week we were married..” but not before he butted in with “Mom and dad used to sleep in this room.”
I know they slept in the same room. I mean. they’ve got two kids. I know things happened. I’m not naive to it. I just don’t like to hear about it. Especially in the room that was once mine. Or the room that is now mine. Or about how I am the woman in the house with their father now, not like it used to be.
It’s a strange thing, to try to call the house that I retreat to each night “Home.” It feels nothing like a home to me. There are no pictures on the walls, the paint needs to be redone. Most of our lives are in boxes now. It feels like I stepped into their world and I can’t figure out how to get this idea out of my head.
I just want to go home.