Thursday, January 19, 2012

Always Home

As I grow older, home is an ever more elusive concept.

My home is in Northern California, amid the rolling green hills and canyons, a short drive away from the Pacific Ocean. Golden Gate territory, where the fog rolls in and slips over the mountaintops like thick Fisherman’s Wharf chowder. Home is where Paul is, the three-bedroom condo where we sit comfortably on our sofa to watch football on Sundays and Glee on Tuesday nights. It’s the apartment-sized kitchen where Paul prepares the tasty meals he learns about from Ina Garten, and where I choose to wash our dishes by hand, before placing them in the dishwasher to dry. Home is my Starbucks on Laurel Avenue in downtown San Carlos, staffed by my barista friends, and it’s the nearby tennis courts, where I try so desperately to be a better tennis player, and a little less diligently to be a better sport. Home is the new friends I’ve made in California, and the old friends who have moved here, each in search of their own west coast adventures.

But as I sit aboard a 54-seat Continental Airlines jet, climbing high above the panhandle of Florida where I was born and where my family still lives, as I look down and see the Gulf of Mexico, my Gulf of Mexico, drifting further away out the airplane window, I know that I am leaving another place I call home. Living with my mom and dad for the last three weeks and assisting with my father’s recovery from open-heart surgery has been a powerful reminder about my other home – my original home. Morning coffee and politics with dad, afternoon errands and late night talks with mom. A nephew’s baseball tryouts, a niece’s impromptu violin recital, an evening meal with my father seated at the head of the table. A barbecue and beer shared with my brother-in-law, laughter and hugs shared with my sister. An afternoon rekindling an old friendship, a visit to the university, a half-dozen desperate trips to my beloved Chick-Fil-A. I am home.

If home really is to be found where the heart is, where love is, then my home is indeed in two places, and really, even more. The place where I am from, the places I have lived, and the place I call home now. The galaxy where those who love me most have made their lives, and the far away universe where I build my life now, and love them back as best I can.

All these places are home now – the old world where my roots run real and deep, and the new world, where my heart is open and alive, and where my dreams are taking flight. I am unfathomably grateful for the gifts each place has given me, and for every person who has shaped my life along the way. I am thankful that I'll never have to choose between one place or the other. I am home. As I forge ahead carrying the past inside me, into a future that can only be imagined, always home.


  1. Great post! You said, beautifully, what I've been feeling the last few months.

  2. so let's all agree that Starbucks is one of your home. So you have about ten thousand homes! Cool!

  3. Cindy - Thanks kindly!
    Jane - It's true. Counting Starbucks, I have a home on every corner (and sometimes two on the same corner!).