Monday, December 3, 2012

You Can't Go Home Again

When Thomas Wolfe said "You can't go home again", he wasn't telling the whole story. You can go back, Mr. Wolfe. You most certainly can. Will there be challenges? Indeed. Will it be bittersweet at times? Most definitely. There may even be tears at times, but you can, certainly, go back home.

And guess what, Mr. Wolfe? It still feels like home. Cozy in some moments like you never even left, and exciting in other moments like this is your first time visiting. It's a sweet crash of old versus new, change versus tried and true.

I'm learning that being near family is a wonderful gift. It's something that I've missed over the last 16 years, and it's something I'm cherishing these days. Tonight, for example, I'm having my mom and grandma over for cookies, ice cream and cocoa, and Friday evening we had a fun triple date with Tim's family that kicked off in our home, both of which are things I've never been able to do as an adult up until now. I'm able to plant and create a home where I can share new memories and old traditions with relatives whom I saw only a few times a year before. It's precious and priceless, and what keeps me going when I ache for my other home near the beach.

I'm also learning that although your home may have changed upon on your return, so have you. You're different. You've grown. You've once left your nest to sink or swim, and you swam. You swam for your life at times, but the fact is that you swam on your own. You've adapted to life and the ups and downs that accompany the years under your belt. You may be a bit more worn in some areas, but you also bring back new perspectives and new stories to share. Many of your stories involve people who may never get to experience your new home, but that doesn't change anything. Their still your stories and your people.

And so it goes for the place you once, and now again, call home. It too has changed.

Time doesn't stop when you leave, nor does it start again when you arrive. It's experienced change and growth as well. Driving by places you loved and frequented as a child might seem a bit more worn, dim or smaller than your once wee little brain recollected. While other areas might be flourishing and holding the promise of new adventures and new stories for you to experience.

And just like that, you find yourself engulfed with the acquainted warmth of home. Almost like you never left.

My guess is that you never really did. Or at least part of you stayed where it was familiar, as small or as large as you wanted/needed home to be, and as cozy a family gathered around a Christmas tree just as they had for decades before.

So, yes, Mr. Wolfe, you can go home again. Both changed and unchanged, it still feels wonderful.

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