He’s been waiting all day. What he wants is a few minutes to browse with me on the world wide interweb.
“You know, Mom, on that site that has all the power rangers stuff, what’s that site called again, Mom? Oh, right. Amazon”
We arrive home after a post-school grocery shop stop. He helps me unload the bags from the car.
“After this, Mom, we can get on the internet and see those power rangers.”
I remind him that homework time happens before we can get on the computer. He says he remembers that and gets busy with his spelling sheet and a dot-to-dot of Clifford the Big Red Dog. I unload groceries, chat with Emma, re-pot a houseplant, and arrange the lilies we purchased at Trader Joe’s. He finishes his work and stacks his papers.
“I’m ready when you are, Mom. I’m ready when you are”
He walks to the stairs and stands sentinel at the bottom step, then gestures grandly with his right hand—sweeping it gallantly to the side and upward as if presenting the staircase itself at a gala event.
We climb the steps, then he, positioned on my bed, coaches me on the best way to open my laptop and put in the search words that will open his world, nay, galaxy, to all things power rangers.
He’s shopping for the ultimate prize, you know. The one that he will earn by achieving 10 days in a row of what he calls “fantastic” days at school. It’s a rhythm we’ve created, his team and I, to motivate and inspire this boy to find his way in making the most of his school days. In that small gap between working hard and melting down, an incentive like this keeps him focused. Eyes on the prize, as it were.
“Type in Power Rangers Rescue Megazord, Mom. That’s the best one, I think.”
I do. We find out that the toys from this particular (vintage) incarnation of the Power Rangers series that he loves to watch on Netflix are being sold at collector’s item prices.
“What does that mean, Mom? What is collector’s item?”
I explain how sometimes grown-ups like to collect kid toys and keep them in the boxes and then sell them much later when they can’t be found in the shops. That way the collector can sell the toys for lots of money.
“Oh. That’s why they are so expensive. Why don’t they just take them out of the box and give them to kids to play with the toys?”
I pass on explaining the economics and eccentricity of collecting and we keep looking at what is available on Amazon. In the Power Rangers section, anyway. He’s rolling over the hiccup of a $600 Megazord and continues to be enthused about what else is on offer–within my budget–on this great big shopping site.
After all, he’s been waiting all day.
I am the mother of three children. It’s a point of pride for me, my parenthood. I laud it as the hardest job I’ll ever have, yet fulfilling in its own peculiar ways. And fun, most times. But hard. Did I mention that parenting is hard?
My children are now 18, 16, and 8.8 years old. So, if you’re doing the maths that makes me 42.8 years worth of wise as I learn the art of parenting. Perhaps by the time I am 100 years parenting wise, I’ll be pretty good at it.
As you might imagine, raising two independent teenagers and one ultimately special guy, we have some great family moments and very funny stories to share. And some poignant, heart-moving experiences that we hold close. That’s family life, right? We are a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and sensations; keep turning us ’round and you keep making vibrant images of light and color. There’s always a story to tell in this house. This is one.
16-year-old Emma took her drivers permit exam yesterday. And she passed. (Yay, Emma!). After our 2 hours of waiting fun at the Motor Vehicle Division we walked out to the car together, she a little giddy at holding a freshly pressed permit, and me a little proud that she’d knocked it out of the park with the test. We drove out of the parking lot and then, a few minutes later, I pulled over on a side street and swapped her places in the car. She sat in the driver’s seat and adjusted her seat and mirrors. Anxious, giggly, with a tint of additional emotion, Emma pulled onto the road and drove. It wasn’t necessarily her first time at the wheel but it was the first time to be ultimately responsible for both the car and the journey.
My baby girl established her presence in the driver’s seat. And though the road is long, she’s on her way.
I couldn’t be prouder.
If I am part of your feed, it may shock you greatly to see this pop up in the reader. I’m not sure I’m sure about what I’m doing. Or how long I’ll be doing it. Again. The one thing I do know is that my fingers are itchy to write, so that is what I shall do. Right here.
Quickly, here’s the sum up. We’ve moved. Again. This time a full circle return to the very place we left six years ago. And by very place I mean VERY PLACE. We are living in Phoenix, Arizona in the SAME HOUSE we lived in before. That’s a bit of a story in itself, and it’s one that might be told here soon enough, but for now that’s what you need to know. I am teaching, the kids are schooling, and my man has returned to the world of the courts.
We are living in Arizona.
We are home.
That, perhaps, is the very thing I wanted to write about: home. If you’ve read me much, you’ll remember that I’ve oft expressed the way my writing takes me where it wants to go, far and away more often than my own thoughts dictate the course of the essay. I am used to it. The only thing I know to do when my fingers itch is to get my fingers to a keyboard and write. Here I am.
This is what I’ve been thinking about.
In recent years we, as a family, have had a few of those. In a few places. Houses of loveliness and practicality, one which we still own in addition to this one where we live. In six years there have been six houses–or dwelling places–on two continents, in two countries, two states, and five cities. Each with their own stories and adventures attached. And, here’s the interesting bit, we’ve been home every time, in every house. Yet, I proclaimed at the start of this piece that we are home here. And while I am sure there are many who’ve waxed poetic in a variety of ways on what makes a house a home, I think I’d like to add my thoughts.
Because I get it.
Home is not a place. Home is a heart state. Meaning, when you invest yourself in the locale, the culture, the neighbors, and the whole experience of the place you live you find yourself at home. For me this is a most defined effort to create and sustain a people community. I like people. I need them. So, whether I am living near my dearest friends, finding new friends in a new city, reuniting with people from my past, or even connecting with those friends I’ve not yet met in the flesh, I know that where my people are, that is where I am home.
Arizona, Missouri, The Netherlands; it’s all the same. Home is what I carry with me.
The house location just doesn’t matter.