How do you define Home? When I was growing up, life was based on the fact that my ass had to be Home and at the dinner table by 7:00 for dinner. No one cared what I was necessarily doing at 6:59 or even at 8:00, but my ass had better be on that stool at the kitchen table by 7:00!
I spent a lot of my life exploring…I probably moved out first when I was 12, but since no one would take me, I had to go Home. And not that I had anything against Home…I had just wanted to experience something else…something daring and different. When I was 17, I left and dug my feet in the ground that I wasn’t coming back to the living conditions I had become used to…so my mother allowed me to have the apartment in the basement. Cool! I loved it! It made me feel like an adult…responsible! (Though I never did have to pay rent.) It had no kitchen but it did have a washing machine & dryer that my family ran whenever they wanted…regardless if someone was sleeping! But regardless, it was mine! I bought myself a futon and a cheap coffee table and a TV and set it up outside my bedroom and I called that my living room. Yet, every night at 7:00, my ass was still upstairs on that stool and ready for dinner. LOL!
When I was 21, I moved to California. I swore I was going to make it…I was going to make a life for myself. I was planning to put off law school for a year during which time I’d “travel” and make a Home for myself on the West Coast. I got a job and an apartment and I was so excited…I was going to make it. But when I called Home to tell my mom about it, she was so sad that she couldn’t even take my calls because she missed me so much. What?!?! I didn’t want her to be sad…sure, I loved California, but not that much. So I moved back Home...and Home took me back, no questions asked. Again, at 23, I did it again. I moved out, I got a job and I made another Home for myself. Eventually I ran out of money and had to move back Home again…and again, Home took me, no questions asked. And every nite at 7:00, dinner was served and I was there on that stool waiting for it.
For me, Home was defined by this little Italian lady of no more than 5 feet tall and she was so beautiful…and she was always so proud of me. No matter what I did…graduated from high school…graduated from college, got a job…had several, actually, as a means to support my social life while in college…who cares…but she was just always so proud of me. And my mom supported everything I did, all my friends and neighbors were always welcome in my house and should any of them be hungry, they were welcome to come over at 7:00 anytime when dinner would be served.
Then 7 years ago, my mother died…10 days before Christmas. She had been sick for a while, but had really only been sick, sick for the last few months. She seemed to have been suffering so badly in the end…always in so much pain. So when she past, how could I be selfish and wish she had stayed…wished that she had been able to spend one last Christmas with me. During the previous Christmas, I hadn’t known it would be her last so I didn’t make a point to remember it. But I can tell you, the Christmas of 2005 would never be forgotten because it was the first Christmas when I didn’t have a Home to go to for the Holidays. The whole world wanted to take me in…many of my friends, my mom’s best friend of 45 years, my co-workers. But my brother’s in-laws won and we all spent Christmas with them in a restaurant and all their kids and I was very grateful…but that wasn’t Home for me.
I spent the next 6 years bouncing from house to house during the Holidays. My brother’s house with his wife and eventually 2 or 3 children did win out most of the time…I always enjoyed spending a day with Genevieve and her husband (Mom’s bestfriend for 45 years) and of course, my best friend, Ariane…her mother always prepared a spot for me at their Christmas table. And they all had lovely homes…but they weren’t mine. Then I left NYC so no one had to take me in for the Holidays. I was in Mexico and was willing to spend it alone or with friends.
This year, that all changed for me. Yes, I’ve said that I live with the man of my dreams (and probably of many other women as well)…but his family is amazing! I was able to meet them earlier this year when I felt at home for the first time in 7 years. I was so nervous that when we walked in the house and I saw his mother for the first time, I just started to cry because I just felt like I had found my way Home again.
Well, last week, we found out that we will be getting enough time off from work this year to allow us to go to visit his family for the holidays. I could not be happier or more excited than I am right now!! Woo hoo…I get to go Home for the Holidays…