Such a simple word with such big implications. When we say, “I am going home,” we should mean, I am going to my sanctuary, my place away from the world and all its’ craziness and demands, to the place where I can “let my hair hang down,” so to speak. Home should be a refuge from the world outside, where you feel safe.
For the past two weeks, I was in L.A. with my daughter and her family. On May 10th, three days after my arrival, I was blessed to witness the birth of my newest g’child, a boy. He is healthy and beautiful–so is his mother. Anyway, I was there to help my daughter through her early days as a Mother. Let me say that I relished that opportunity. Yet, I learned one thing. When you are in someone else’s home and they tell you “make your self at home,” it is virtually impossible to do so–at least for me. I want to make it clear that my hosts were gracious and opened up their home to me. They wanted me to be as comfortable as possible. My daughter and I are as close as any mother and daughter could be, but in the back of my mind, I always remembered that I was in her house, surrounded by her things.
One night, letting warm water seep into my painful, aching muscles and bubbles take me way, I forgot where I was and languished in the bath as I would do at home. I was soon reminded that I was not home. After attempting to wait me out, my poor son-in-law had to knock on the door to inquire when I’d be out. I was chagrined at having made him wait. On two separate occasions, I managed to destroy two of their plates–one a wall hanging and the other, a salad plate, part of their everyday dinner ware. The wall hanging was broken when I somehow managed to bump into it. Since I can be rather clumsy, it is no surprise, but still, it was not mine to break. Now the destruction of the salad plate was more complicated. However, cutting to the chase: Not knowing how to use the timer function of their microwave, and forgetting that I’d left a salad plate there, I set the microwave to cook for 15 minutes. Well, let me tell you, a microwave can cook, no char, a plate in under 15 minutes. I was busy holding my g’son as B. walked into the kitchen. It was beginning to fill with the scent of burnt plate. She shouted, “Mom, what are you doing?” I said, “Using the timer.” She responded, “You left the plate in the microwave.” She opened the microwave and took out a charred cracked plate, barely recognizable as the blue plate that went in. I took one look at it and at first, said–nothing. What could I say? Then I said “I am sorry” more than once and that I would replace the plate. Then, the guilt set in. Being raised Catholic, guilt is my middle name.
These are but a few of many incidents that occurred during my two weeks in L.A. At home, I can take a bath as long as I wish, and I can break every plate in the house if I chose to without feeling any guilt, because they are mine. (Of course, I will have to answer some pointed questions from my husband about the whereabouts of our plates, but that is beside the point.) Being home provides a comfort and latitude that being in another’s home can’t provide. It is difficult to “let your hair head down” while you are ever mindful that you are not at home and that you can’t just let it all hang out if you wish.
Nevertheless, this post in no way suggests that I wish to remain in the comfort of my own little home. No way! I am ready to explore–fibromyalgia be damned. By my experience, I simply recognized how my daughter, who visits us about twice a year, might feel when she’s here. It makes me more aware and intent on making their stay as comfortable as possible. I plan to visit as often as possible to spend time with my daughter, son-in-law, and new g’son. My long ago experience with L.A. was not a good one, but the little that I saw during my recent visit made me want to see more. Since it does not look like they are coming home anytime soon, I’ll have ample opportunity to explore.
There was one final realization. It is that my daughter is happy and for the time being has found her place in the world. She is now a mother, and a great one at that. My g’son is more blessed than he can ever know to have B. and K. as his parents. They have made a home in L.A. and although I would love for them to come home, that is not my choice to make. For now, their “sanctuary” and “refuge” is in L.A. with their son. I have to respect that.
Oh yeah, as I venture away from home, I realize the old adage to be true, “absence does make the heart grow fonder.”
Blessings and love, Lydia