You know that feeling you get when you’re home?  It’s a contented, happy feeling.   You can relax because you are in a safe place, the one place in the world where you can completely be yourself, enjoy yourself, and nothing else.  Like no matter what the day has done to you, you get to come back to home base and recharge.  The world can be tough, battering, brutal and unyielding.  Sometimes it has just been A DAY.  But there is always home.  There is always the promise of warmth and love and the familiar to wipe away all the bad.

It’s easy to take that for granted until, one day, you don’t have it.  Home just isn’t there.  It’s on a moving truck somewhere in the New Mexico desert.  Maybe you’ve lost it because you’ve been wandering for so long.  Maybe the very essence of what made it home is gone and even though the place is the same, what’s inside is anything but.  Home becomes an abstract thought, floating through space and always just out of reach.  You ache for it, you wish for it, you dream about it, but every day you wake up and it just isn’t there.

You find comfort in knowing that, one day, you’ll find home again.  You have to believe that, because without that hope you feel like you might just float away.  For when you’re un-tethered to the earth, it’s hard to keep your feet on the ground.

Being human is a lot like being a hot air balloon preparing for takeoff.  You have ropes that keep you anchored – your home, your family, your friends, your passions.  Each rope is unique and pulls its own weight, keeping you grounded.

The ropes loosen, allowing you to fly on your own, but they also bring you back to the ground and keep you from floating away into nothingness. The ropes all work together, providing equal balance and support to your balloon.

When one is frayed, or cut, or even missing, you simply can’t fly properly.  Your balloon is sideways and crooked and upside down and carrying you through a tornado to the Land of Oz.

But, if you work hard enough, look hard enough, you can fix it.  Repair the rope, find the missing tether, and get your balloon right side up and on your way home.


The Idea of Home

As my family faces the possibility of yet another cross-country move within the next year, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of home. I was born and raised in the same town, so home was a pretty concrete place for me growing up.

I don’t know that I’ll be able to say the same for my kids. Georgia lived in 4 different homes in her second year of life alone, so the idea of home for her and Jameson is likely going to be very different from what I grew up knowing.

In a way, that makes me sad. Mostly because my childhood home is so ingrained in who I am. It’s almost as if it’s more than just a place, but rather an extension of myself.

A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.

Joan Didion

From the age of 5 the place I called home was idyllic by any standards. Our house overlooked a quiet bay on a small lake, surrounded by towering Norway pines and snow-white birch trees. The bay was home to beavers, giant snapping turtles, and families of loons who would carry their tiny babies around on their backs.

It was a place filled with peace and stillness. It was quiet and serene, yet filled with a multitude of comforting sounds that I have mourned the loss of since leaving home for city and suburban living. The rustling of the leaves on the breeze, growing louder with each gust of wind and then softly quieting down, the crescendo and diminuendo of the north woods. The loons calling, a sound whose return we eagerly anticipated each spring. A kayak paddle rhythmically dipping into the water, lapping the water behind you as you pushed out into the open water. Snuggling up under a pile of blankets on a cold winter night, listening to the wind roaring outside.

I guess the idea of home will be fluid for my kids, constantly changing as our life as a family evolves. Regardless of where the journey takes us, I hope that one day we end up in Minnesota so our kids can experience the magic that is childhood in the North.

MN Childhood Home