As I move into my 14th home, I reflect on the first 13, bringing me to this piece I wrote (by hand...gasp, I know) about two years ago.
Jotted down too late at night on Friday, March 13, 2009 by Megan Highfill.
Moving out on my own has already proved both rewarding and disappointing. Now, as I sit in my bed, I’m realizing that this is the last time I will probably call this house my home. The house itself is no big deal—houses come and go, and I’ve seen seven do as such in my lifetime. What terrifies me is that this may be the last time that my true home is the same place as my mother, father and brother. Even in college, I “came home” for Christmas and over the summer. Now, there are two separate entities: My home and what I’ve tried to start referring to as “my parent’s house, a reference that is proving to be more emotional than expected.
I’ve felt this once before—when I was driving out of Oberlin for the last time, on a cold December morning. After that morning, I would never again call Oberlin my home. It’s the feeling of never coming back as more than a visitor that really gets to me. And though I can return to “my parent’s house,” I can’t do so in the same way I’ve done for 25 years.
Perhaps this is why I cling to the artifacts of my parents and grandparents and hesitate to store anything of my own as a keepsake. Home is the people in it, the things they say, create and use. So I am faithful to every dish, every gift, and every old piece of furniture. The things that are now mine that were once my mother’s, my grandmother’s and even great-grandmother’s—they are a way for me to maintain that connection. That human emotion that molds, breaks and puts back together a home.
I’m not sure if I’m ready to create my own building blocks here. Seeing that empty space makes me expect aspects of Oberlin and Kansas to walk in the room and start constructing. Surely Leah, Matt, Rachael, David, Megan and Beth are on their way. Of course, Mama, Daddy and Tavy are right outside the door. If they aren’t there, then why am I not hightailing it back to them, back to my home?
To some, this may seem silly. Why am I so emotional about a move that takes me less than 10 miles? In my new apartment, though, my mother seems just as far away as in-Guatemala Beth Peachey.
So, I draw them close. Steal a bit of the homes we have already built together. For Rachael, I have the books and the scriptures we shared, strategically accessible on my bookshelves, complete with the Secret Life of Bees. Megan, remember those plates we made and mine said “Your mom”? Well, don’t worry—I won’t be putting your mom in the microwave. Matt, our kitchen in Oberlin, including the plastic Sesame Street cups, has been reincarnated in Mission, Kansas. David, I have an original NES hooked to my TV with your name on it. The heartfelt, thoughtful style of Leah Faleer has affected just about every aspect of my apartment, and I will sit close to the television to watch So You Think You Can Dance. Bethy, your kindness and genuineness is so much a part of me that the picture of me eating ice cream and playing Super Mario Brothers on my computer can’t explain it. Daddy, I’m pretty sure a 6-pack of beer will be christening my refrigerator very soon. Tavy, the TV is in a central location and you have your own TV tray and chair. And Mama, well, that place is a glowing representation of how well I was raised. A girl couldn’t ask for a better mother.
There are touches of others, here and there, of course. And a rice cooker large enough with rice enough to serve this 10+ person family. In 2009, on March 13, I brought the total number places I’ve lived, including college, to 13. I hope to make this one as awesome as the first 12.
Thank you for my homes.