Monday, March 27, 2006

Home Is a Tricky Thing

I've been trying to make Home Is Where I Lay My Hat and Home Is Where the Heart Is fit for so long. I feed myself these words. I say them and they've been said to me, often. I dance around with these phrases. I make big signs out of them and chant them with a conviction that I want to believe. I try so hard to make them true, but in the end I can't turn them into anything but words.

Husband and I are confused again. We made the mistake of going to Santa Monica this weekend and having lots of fun. I'm kicking myself for the easy, good times now. I used to think it was my imagination, but Santa Monica has a smell to it and every time we visit I roll down the car windows to breathe it in. It smells like Hometown. We hung out with Husband's best friend visiting from back east, and instantly Husband craved Hometown too. And we're confused again.

No matter how good the town where we live now has been to us -- the perfect place in many ways -- hometowns try to lure us back. Most times we pretend like we don't hear it. I say, "Home is where we make it, Papi." And he says, "True." We haven't even talked about this for almost a year as we go about our everyday, filling the groove of our Life for Children. But Saturday we drove back from a great day with the children in Santa Monica where it smelled so good, and he and I said nothing. We knew exactly what each other was feeling. We were having a hard time stuffing the feeling back into its lockbox. We weren't supposed to feel this way again.

Husband may have an opportunity to get a new job in LA. It would be a new industry for him. And it all sounds exciting, the whole thing, the moving, the opportunity, us answering the call back home. But then we get nervous. We have one foot in the practical where we've built a small piece of comfortable suburbia for ourselves, and sure, we fight off city yearnings, but our kids have roots here, and there's nothing wrong with our life. And then we have one foot involuntarily inching towards the pull; a life that fits us, where we aren't always trying to fit it, and where we may be able to do more exciting, life-calling things, --Husband expecially -- than a semi-safe, soul-sucking job. But usually we spend SO MUCH TIME weighing out the pros and cons -- ignoring our gut pull -- that we end up always choosing to stay where we are, y'know, for the children. I mean, maybe this feeling will pass again. Sooner than later, I hope. It's hard to fend off sometimes.

But if Husband were to say Let's Go, let's just go for it because, y'know Mami, our children will always be fine because of US and nothing else; if he were to say let's live this adventure together and trust our gut this one time no matter how scary and unsure, I'd make it work with him. I'd pitch to work my job from home and I'd stop internet shopping and I'd find us a little two bedroom apartment in Santa Monica under a billion dollars -- and I'd fix it up and make it ours because home is what you make it or where the heart pumps or where the hat goes, or maybe where you secretly wish you were.

Then again, maybe home is the place that has been good to you and your children no matter the lack of deep-rooted connection. I guess we'll just have to weigh the pros and cons, and I'll pray for this feeling to pass, and I'll tell Husband not to drive me up to Santa Monica again until we're willing to really take a chance, until we're ready to come home.

10 comments:

SUEB0B said...

I understand completely. I lived in a place where I was such a Square Peg for 4 years and I kept trying to convince myself it was all in my attitude.

Then I moved to somewhere I wanted to live. I live in a 600 square foot house, not a 2500 square foot one. It is 50 years old, not 20 years old. It has no swimming pool, no gardener, no dishwasher (or TV or microwave!).

But I am happy. I drive by the beach and it brings my heart joy. I go to the hometown video place and love all the nice kids that work there. I love the people at my wacky liberal church. I take my dog on long walks and drive up the slow streets because they are so pretty...

I hope you find your corner of the world and make it work. To me, it was worth it. And no, it wasn't all in my head.

Laini Taylor said...

I think that where you live can be so much deeper and profound than just a comfortable home and security - that sense of "hometown" is something I've never had, being a military kid, and though I wouldn't change my gypsy childhood and living in Italy etc for anything, NOW it's really important to me to establish a place that is MINE, OURS, that resonates with us and isn't just about a comfortable living space. But California, man, it just makes me bitter: why should it be so hard for normal people to live in semi-decent places in California? That's why we left for Oregon, to try to put down roots somewhere affordable and thank god we love it -- I hope you find a way to follow your hearts. Not sure where you live now, but a colorful and vibrant place to live can be really inspiring/life-changing for kids too. Also, three cheers for the Oglala Sioux PP!

andrea said...

oh, I hear you, I do.

ward and I go round and round. we feel like we belong in new york. not necessarily right smack dab in the middle of manhattan, but somewhere close. I feel at home every time I am there. there are a million career possibilities for ward. but we rationalize ourselves out of moving every single time.

acumamakiki said...

Oh my. I understand this one so much. Even though we're just a scant 18 miles from NYC, it might as well be an ocean sometimes. But I dream and in 13 years, when Ava goes to college, we're SO moving back!! (=
I do understand the lure of Santa Monica though; we talked about moving back to Cali before we moved here to NJ and Santa Monica is where we wanted to be as well.

yolie said...

We went through something very similar when Em was a baby. It's a story I'll have to tell some other time. I know how strong the pull is and your pull sounds so reasonable compared to ours, I can't believe it can't come true! I'm a somewhat firm (more like tofu consistency) believer in "signs". Keep your eyes peeled for them and maybe you'll catch a glimpse of a door when it's just slightly open and maybe that will be the door you walk through that leads you to Hometown. It could happen.

ESB said...

i, too, relate, and empathize.... we currently rent in a massively affluent picturesque crime-free suburb, complete with mansions, grass, trees, wildlife (owls, ducks, geese, and wild turkeys crossing the street) a lovely town center, fairs, etc etc. but the only color here is WHITE, the main breeding is WASP (with a church literally on every corner) and one is made to feel sub-par (at least i am) for not owning a yacht or 8-carat diamond ring or for not having celebrity-levels of $$$. why the hell would i live in such an unreal place? you might be asking.....well, it's gorgeous, crime-free, and very child-friendly. drivers actually stop for you when you cross the street. we know our neighbors. my daughter loves the duck pond. and for a suburb, it's not a bad commute. but i know there's no way i'll be able to last here much longer. in any other town, i'd be a cool middle-class chick. but here, i feel like i should be wearing a sign on my forehead reading IMPOSTER. the damage this place has done to my self-esteem is sad......i don't HAVE these silly thoughts in other towns.....but then i think of my child.....

Rebel Girl said...

oh...Santa Monica.................................................it still hurts...

Rebel Girl said...

You can't go back without me, Madness.

Don't leave me here.

Persephone said...

I agree with Yolie--look for signs. There are certain kinds of synergy in the world that definitely reveal the path to us.

I also believe that the most child-centered thing we can do at times is to live for ourselves and to bring our children along. They may not like it at first, but eventually you all look back and say "yes, this is what needed to happen." My divorce was a prime example of this for me.

From what I've read of your life as a child,(and this is just my interpretation, of course) you worry about being "selfish." It seems that your mom made a lot of decisions that were about her and not about you and so it seems that you worry about making the same mistakes. But I think there are certain things that we do for ourselves that really need to be done. Usually, they end up being the best thing for our children in the end, too. At least this is my belief.

Good luck finding Hometown

Mardougrrl said...

Man, I SO relate. I'm about to make a big move (from California to the Midwest, and a city I've never lived in) and I really want to make it someplace I WANT to live, instead of someplace "for the baby." Can't we have both?

I just feel like I BELONG on the West Coast and I know I'm going to be counting the seconds until we can move back here.

Good luck, whatever you decide. (I would move to Santa Monica in a hot minute if we could afford ANYTHING at all).