It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and I decided to take my mother for a drive. She asked me if I would drive by our old house. Two years earlier my sister, brother, and I sold her house because she could no longer take care of it. I was intrigued to see what she would say upon seeing it. I parked in front of the house and we gazed upon it. After a few seconds, my mother turned to me and said, “Why are we sitting here?” She lived in this house for 45 years, and now she did not recognize it. This house was becoming an evanescent memory for my mother courtesy of Alzheimer’s Disease. Dejected, I took my mother back to the nursing home.
I have gone to school, lived or worked in eight states. In addition, I have worked on projects in several countries. No matter where I lived I yearned to go home to that house that encompassed so many of my memories. Initially, my world was the backyard where there were tall birch trees that seemed to touch the sky and I learned to climb to the top of them. As I got older, my mother walked with me to Kindergarten and my world expanded a bit more. Eventually, I attended middle school and high school and each time my world grew a little larger. Even though I wandered farther and farther from this house, I always found my way home. Eventually, I moved away for graduate school and these other places where I lived became like home, but never truly home. That would always be the house I grew up in and returned to every year much like the swallows returning to Capistrano. Every time I returned my mother was always there waiting at the door to welcome me home, eager to hear about my experiences.
Recently, I came home again. After visiting my mother at the nursing home, I decided to drive to the old house by myself. I parked in front of the house once again. As I looked at the house, I noticed a sign in the front yard that read, “It’s a girl.” I smiled. This house was going to become a home again.
As I sat there. I wondered if this little girl would develop the same affection for this house, neighborhood, and city that I did. Similarly, I wondered if she would develop the same yearning to go home. I knew that I could not answer these questions, but if that little girl was anything like me she would in the years ahead learn about the melancholy of leaving home and, more importantly, the joy of going home again. I knew one thing for sure: Wherever she ended up in this world, her mother would be at the door to welcome her home. This I believe.
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