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Upon Returning Home from Home

Written in June and finally finished. Some thoughts on home....

As I sit on my front porch, I am struggling with how to describe the scene without sounding cliche. It is nearly impossible.

Right now, the sky is blue but for a few white clouds. The sun is starting its descent but still hangs above the roof across the street. There is the most pleasant of breezes. I hear the sounds of birds, kids playing basketball, and a conversation between mother and child as they walk their dog. The lawns are green. The flowers are in bloom. My neighbor is teaching his son to ride a two-wheeler.

My daughter and her friends just made a plan to play "baby dolls" in our yard. My son is so excited about summer camp that he can't wait for tomorrow. A police cruiser does its nightly roll down our street. My cat just jumped up on my lap.

See what I mean? Sounds cliche.

This is not a cliche though, this is my home. When we built this house 9 years ago, we imagined the very life we have now. It's a neighborhood filled with families whose children have become my children's friends and playmates and whose parents are our friends and adopted family. My husband works from home and I'm home with the kids except when I am subbing or doing the comedy thing. We live a happy, peaceful life that is ordinary and extraordinary all at the same time.

600 miles away is my other home. New York City. Brooklyn is where I grew up and Brooklyn/Staten Island/New Jersey is where most of my family remains. Besides my parents, sister and brothers, I have aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, and even great-nieces and nephews now. Not to mention my life-long friends.

I just got back from a long visit that included a reunion with my college sorority and my 25th High School reunion. I always feel melancholy when I return from NY, but more so this time.

When I drive along the streets of NY, or walk through The City, I find myself pining for the life I might have had. I look at the houses in S.I. or in my brother's town in NJ, and in their shadows I can almost see my own family. For all the happiness we have found in Ohio, I know we could have been happy in NY too. I can see weekends filled with family gatherings, really being a part of everyone's lives instead of being the missing link or the special visitor that has to try to see everyone I love and miss in the span of a week (which is impossible). I know I would be watching the new babies of my nieces and nephews. My children would be part of their cousins' and aunts' and uncles' and grandparents' lives.

I can see myself at my sister's house, watching the American Idol finale. Frank could play golf with my brothers. I would take advantage of everything The City has to offer. We'd be in the center of it all and I would take the kids to the best museums, concerts and parks. We'd explore and learn. We would go to the beach.

My career was just getting off the ground when we left. Sometimes I think that I could have been producing or writing for TV. I took my passion for broadcasting and left the center of it all. It's hard not to say "what if?" It's easy to speculate.

But I have to be honest and say that at the time of our decision to move to Ohio, I was very disillusioned with what Radio had become, and Frank was extremely unhappy with work. We were married a few years and didn't really have a lot of time together with our crazy, opposite schedules, never mind having time with our family and friends. The reality was work, traffic, expensive tolls and parking, and stress. The dream was having kids and me staying home with them. The dream was owning our own home and having time to enjoy it. The dream was my husband working but not feeling trapped. And so we moved.

What I realize now is that when I imagine life in NY, essentially my life here transplanted there,I am not really being honest with myself. Everything would be different. I might have had kids, but they wouldn't be these kids, especially considering the medical intervention it took to have them and that the doctors were in Ohio. I would have friends, but would I trade the friends I have made here or the experiences I've had? No. Would I trade the time I had with my grandparents or Aunt El and Uncle Stan who all lived here? No. It seems that I have traded all of that for my family back home, but in some ways I have the best of both worlds. When my parents see my kids, it's special and meaningful. I've vacationed with my siblings and their families, something we may not have done if we lived around the corner.
If I'm going to try to imagine life there, I have to imagine it completely different than here.

Seeing my Sorority friends after 20 years was amazing. They are beautiful and smart. They lawyers and teachers, parents and volunteers. And after all these years, still dear friends. As a sorority we are "sisters" which also sounds cliche but is true. I loved those girls and still do.

I am so proud of who they are and amazed with how much we all have in common.

The same can be said for my High School friends, who, honestly, actually started as my Junior High School friends. What do you say about the bonds that you form with the girls with whom you shared your deepest secrets and went through your firsts with: First crush. First kiss. First boyfriend? These are forever bonds. Bonds that are inexplicably there after all this time.

Although moving to Ohio meant I couldn't have these friends in my daily life, I took them with me. Because of them, I knew what a friend looked like when I saw one. I have been blessed with the most wonderful, interesting, funny, loyal and dependable friends here.

So maybe the answer really is that I have the best of both worlds. Instead of thinking of what I have subtracted, I should think of what and who I have added.

My "new" friends in Ohio are fast becoming my old friends and my old friends are new again. (Thanks to the reunions and the miracle that is Facebook!) My family will always be my family.

There are so many sayings about HOME:
Home is a shelter from storms - all sorts of storms. ~William J. Bennett

Where we love is home,
Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Homesick in Heaven

Where thou art - that - is Home. ~Emily Dickinson

To me, what Emily Dickinson has written makes sense, but I cannot limit my "thou" to one person (though she might have been). "Thou" to me is plural and includes everyone I love, here and there.

So I will decide to consider myself lucky, and call both places "home."

This post first appeared on The Girl Out Of Brooklyn, please read the originial post: here

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Upon Returning Home from Home


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