Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Place You Thought Of As Home

I've been reading Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson.  If you aren't offended by anything on her blog then you will love this book.  I will admit that I did take the jacket cover off to read it in front of my mom.  I love it!  There are so many moments where I am caught in a guffaw.  My husband looks at me like I'm nuts and my mom kept asking me what was so funny.  All I can answer with is "uuuhhh".  Not that my mom isn't hip or with it...I just think that she might not find the stories involving cow vaginas all that funny.

I haven't found the time to make it all the way through the book but I am making as big of a dent as much as I can.  Although there are a ton of funny moments there are some moments where it gets a bit serious.  It balances out nicely.

I found myself connecting with a certain section of the book where Jenny talks about going home as an adult.  Going home only to find that place wasn't the same anymore.  Although she wanted it to change, when it did, it wasn't what she wanted.  Not only did I fully understand what she was talking about, I got it.  I found that part hitting a little close to home.

I lived a moment very similar to that.  Where I realized that a place I called home, was no longer what I remembered.

My parents wanted me to come out to my Grandparents property and help clean up some stuff.  Being about six month pregnant at the time I couldn't do very much except drive which was what they wanted anyways since I had an Element I had the biggest car.  I didn't want to go.  I knew I didn't want to go but for the sake of being a team player I went.  I spent a lot of the time sitting on my tailgate staring.

My Grandparents had a piece of property in one of those "blink and you'll miss it" kind of towns.  It had a school and a fruit stand and a restaurant that got reincarnated every time it caught on fire.

When I was little no matter where we lived it always seemed like there was five of us and one bathroom.  So if the offer was thrown down to go out in the country where there was space, I didn't hesitate.  My Grandparents house was one of my favorite places as a kid.

There was space.  It always seemed like there was plenty of time, but at the same time the weekend always went by way to fast.  This place that I remember in my head is where I am transported too when I smell Oak trees.  My parents were married under one of the towering Oaks.  I always felt connected to it even as a kid because in my mind had they not gotten married under that tree there would be no me.  It was that little kid reasoning that made sense at the time.  Along with time and space there was independence.  Left to our own devices there was a million things to do.

At the time I never realized that our family didn't have a lot of money.  We always felt spoiled when we went to my Grandmothers.  She made us home made french fries from real potatoes and always had those hot dogs that had the cheese in the middle.  She made home made pies and fresh apple butter.  We always thought we were helping when we would pit cherries but I think in the end we ate more than our fair share.  I find myself repeating to my daughter that if eats too much fruit she's going to get sick but I think that was Grandma's way of keeping us out of the pie fodder.

She always seemed to keep busy while we played and explored.  I have to wonder if she was amazed that we made it back in the house every night.  We pushed each other on bikes, rode scooters and played with bones of old go carts.  The monkey bars were used as dare devices to see who would jump off the top.  We played as a group with our cousins or broke off and explored on our own.  One day I decided that I was going to mash up all the acorns I could gather.  I spent time fashioning a home made mortar and pestle out of rocks and went to work.  I mashed up all the acorns I could find and took a bite.  It was gross.  I guess I skipped that part in American History where they discussed leaching the acorns.  In my kid mind I couldn't give up what had seemed like hours of work.  I decided that sugar was my only option.  So in the house I went and out I came with a cup full of sugar.  I added and mashed some more and then decided to ask for help.  Grandma helped fill in the blanks.  She was the smartest person I knew.

Looking back I'm amazed that we made it back in the house every night.  It wasn't just the property that seemed spacious it was the house too.  The house wasn't huge but it was way bigger than anything I had ever been in.  It had two bathrooms and a closet that was big enough to play hide and seek in.  Not to mention a huge bathtub.  For half of my childhood our one tiny bathroom only housed a shower.  I would try to plug the drain with a wash rag and pretend that the two inches of water was a tub.  When I was at Grandmas I didn't have to pretend I was in the tub.  I pretended it was a swimming pool.  And to the younger was.

When we would play hide and seek I would always hide under my Grandmother's quilting loom which was almost always out and displaying her latest work in progress.  She hand made everything from dolls to bed quilts.  It's where I get my love of crafting from.  I have one blanket that she made for me and it's in dire need of repair.  One day I hope to know enough about quilting to fix it.  For now it sits as one of the many reminders of how much she loved me.  It's one of the many reminders of how much I loved that place.  That place that only exists as a memory now.  I wish that when I was younger I would have taken more picture.  Not that I had access to a camera back then.  When you are young you never in a million years think that a place you love so much might cease to exist.

And there I was sitting on the back of my tail gate coming to terms with that fact.  Things had happened and the property was in disarray.  The house had been torn down with the excuse that eventually a new road was coming through.  I knew in my head that all this had happened.  I couldn't bring myself to see it.  Even when we drove on the main road I couldn't look down the side street.  I wasn't ready to let go.  So when I found myself there on that chilly afternoon all I could do was stare.  I had my hand on my stomach  while my baby girl kicked me from the inside and I was even more saddened by the fact that she would never know this place.  Even if I cherry picked the happy memories and let go of everything else.  She would never know the Oak tree.  At the time I excused it as pregnancy hormones.  I couldn't let myself accept what I was feeling.  My husband came by and held my hand.  There was no way I could describe to him what I was experiencing.  I think he understood.  He didn't say much.  He just held my hand and stared out the back with me.

So when Jenny described what it was like for her to lose that place, even if it was just a fictional place, it clicked.  I understood that I was in mourning.  Now that I get that, I can work on getting over the loss of the place I thought of as home.    

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