Monday, September 17, 2012

Leaving Home and Missing Home

I was having my ‘mommy time’ while they were napping, checking in on my social media world.

Innocently, I clicked on a video that my dad posted on facebook:

Suddenly, I wasn't a mommy taking a break.
I was a daughter, a little girl, bawling over my keyboard, and missing home.

We had a couple over for dinner today for premarital counseling. It seems odd to me that “these young kids” should be coming to us for premarital counseling.  Didn’t we just get married ourselves? Yes, just twelve years ago. Six kids ago. A lifetime ago. Yesterday.

Sometimes I want to be the little girl still at home. I want to climb trees and crack chestnuts again. I want to pick flowers and have someone else tell me to watch for cars on the road.  I want to “help” my mom plant flowers and get distracted by a juicy earthworm that would make a great pet. I want to smell my laundry clean and fresh in my drawers, and I want the mom who washed it and put it there to be there still, in the kitchen or in her flower bed, at her home and my home and our home.

I want a big hug from an aunt or an uncle or a father or a grandpa that smells like cigarettes and love.

I want to have a flour fight with my sister. I want to play with her in the waves of Lake Michigan in a body that has never been stretched by a baby. I want to go dune jumping.

I want to stay up late talking politics and eating ice cream with my dad.  I want him to make a fire for us and get out the guitar again, and sing to me while I watch the smoke rise to the stars. I want to lay on the couch, stomach full of potato chips, and fall asleep to the background noise of a football game, or Fox News.  I want to wake up and discover that a soft blanket magically covered me where I rested all night.

But I can’t. I grew up.
I didn’t mean to.
It just happened.

I graduated, went to college, and my prince swept me away. We became one flesh, obeyed the command to “leave and cleave,” and our leaving and cleaving and loving spilled over into a beautiful new family.

The “young kids” that were here today are preparing to leave and cleave.  I imagine the day when my daughters are grown, and I can see now as I couldn’t then, how the leaving is a loss for the parents, even in the happiest circumstances. And the "kids" don’t understand. They can’t understand. I know I didn’t understand.

And I love this place, this new home, with the corn fields and the Cheerios and the diaper bags and the two-wheelers and the wine when the kids are in bed.  I love this place, this life, and the God who was faithful to me then and is still now.

I’m not the little girl in the chestnut tree any longer, though I do climb trees with my children.  And I tell them not to grow, but they grow, insisting, “Mommy, I can’t help it! God makes me grow!”

It is odd, and my children agree, this fact that I AM a mom, and I also HAVE a mom, and a dad, too. Why would you need a mom or dad? You don't need spankings, and you know how to make food!  Yes, it's different, kids. I do not have the type of mom or dad that plays Sorry with me, or finds my lost blanket.

Things change, children, but with God’s help we change together like seasons, each with its own unique beauty.

The bond between parent and child is not a kind that can be severed by time or geography or seasons. With God’s help it ages like wine, becomes something deeper, stronger, and sweeter even than the days of Care Bears and tickle fights.

Home is no longer home, but it is always like home where they are.
And that thing I really ache for, it is not the climbing tree or the mashed potatoes. It is the unconditional love, and the being cared-for.

And I have that right here, in my other home.
My parents’ care and God’s care remind me of home and of Home.

And this new, far-away relationship with my own mom and dad is being made something new, yet older and different. And I don’t really know what it is supposed to look like.

I am learning again, flailing around like I did when my dad first taught me how to swim.

Thank you for memories of home even as I am far from home. Bless my parents, and me too, as we are still growing up, and we just can't help it. Bless us as we grow and we flail and we change like the seasons. Keep us safe in Your grace and in Your love for us.
In Jesus' name, Amen.

Love you, mom and dad!

What do you miss about your childhood home?
How has your relationship changed with your parents since you’ve been out of the house?


  1. You have posted my feeling, the feelings I have had a lot lately. My mom passed away a few months ago and even tho I, myself, am a grandma I miss her, my dad, and the feelings of childhood you described. My childhood was happy and secure and I would love to relive a day.

  2. Well Waaaahhhh. Oh, I didn't get past the title of the song before I welled up in tears. Dripping all over my parents are in heaven. My grandparents have passed on as well. Having personally walked in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I know deeply how fleeting earthly life is.

  3. I find it extra beautiful that I am reading this post while in my childhood home in Wyoming, so far away from where my "other family" lives now in California. Whenever I come home, I make it a point to go out to breakfast with my dad. It's a tradition we developed as I was growing up, and our talks about "nighttime" moose and swim parties evolved into intense conversations about economics and the stock market - things that, oddly enough, really intrigued me. Your post is so touching. Just as I had a warm and safe and wonderful childhood home and upbringing, how deeply I desire to provide that for my own precious boys now. And your outlook that the moments grow sweeter as a parent, seeing childhood from the "other side" is so encouraging. Thanks for being such a light!

  4. Beautiful video! And your words took me back to my own childhood. Thank you for this moving post. Blessings!

  5. What a beautiful expression of home. Thank you.

  6. Just found you via Beauty for Ashes. You have a true talent for writing and I look forward to following. I, too, can remember the good ol' times when I was young. I long for those carefree days at times. But at the same time, I each day is such a gift from Him and I wouldn't want to go back.

  7. You took the words out of my heart. Being almost 800 miles away from my parents, and only seeing them a couple times a year is hard for me. Thank you for sharing and linking up with me! Blessings!

  8. This is absolutely beautiful! I am far away from my "home" too and i look back to those times as a kid often now with kids of my own and miss that innocence! The "unstress". BUT, this time of year when i'm outside the smell in the comes back in small glimpses. It makes me sad and happy all at the same time.


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