Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Where everybody knows your name

I have always thought of home as where I grew up.  I have lived where I live now for 13 years.  13 years!  Where has the time gone?  That is longer than I lived in the town I grew up.  My home.  No, my town now is my home.  I drive around town and I am reminded that I am home.  I don't visit my parents ("home") very much - maybe once or twice a year.  There are lots of reason why - traffic through Chicago, hard to find the time, etc.  When I do visit, it doesn't feel like home anymore.  Sure, everything is familiar - my high school, the "old hangouts".  My room is how I left it plus my mom has overtaken it for extra storage.  It's fun to show Laci my elementary school and memories always come flooding back.  But home is where I live now.  I feel like this is where I really grew up.  This is where I learned to make it on my own.  I learned to be an adult here.  I moved here and knew very few people.  But somehow I found my life here.  I remember my first apartment and how grown up I felt just taking the trash out and getting my first oil change.  Mowing the lawn at my first house was my next "grown up" task.  I had to find a church and I had to get involved.  I met people and I met friends.  I played soccer.  I coached soccer.  I met Charlie.  I had a family.  Now I know my town.  It is my town and I am very proud of it.  Laci is getting to the age to start activities and will start school soon so I am learning about the school system and the park district, dance studios, gymnastics studios, swimming lessons, etc.  I remember doing all these activities as a kid and now I am making these memories for my children.  

When I talk to my mom, she is often telling me about old places and changes around town or people she runs into that I knew.  I don't have the heart to tell her that those things don't really matter much to me anymore.  That place isn't my home.  It is her home.  She has lived there for nearly 30 years - longer than she has lived anywhere else.  Just like where I live now is my home.  I have lived here longer than I have lived anywhere else.  

Charlie's parents don't leave in the house he grew up in anymore.  When we visit his parents, he doesn't get flooded with childhood memories much.  It's a different feeling for him to visit his parents house.  But occasionally we do find ourselves in his hometown and he gives us the tour and I know all of those childhood memories come flooding back for him, just like they do for me when we visit my hometown.  

I know people who still live in the town or near the town I grew up.  I wonder what that is like.  I don't have any comparison to that.  I see pictures of their kids on facebook doing the things we did as kids.  It must be fun in its own way to be able to share your children memories and activities with your children.  It would be interesting to have the "other" perspective - the parent perspective on all those things.  My brother still lives near my parents and sees them often.  They still help him out a lot.  I wonder what that is like - especially when I see them help him with all of those things I had to do on my own. 

I keep running into people I know around town - at dinner, the grocery, the dentist.  Co-workers, old co-workers, people from church, etc.  Whenever I see someone I know, I reminded that this is my town.  This is my home.  I belong here.  I have a past here and I have a future here. 

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