Kids don't come with a guide. Parents don't have to pass any comprehensive exams to prove they are prepared for the lifelong vocation of parenting. Instead we worry, doubt ourselves, compare ourselves against others, and save money for the future therapy bills. The parenting test comes everyday. The only way to pass is with heaps of humility, honesty,and humor.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
You Can't Go Back
I am enjoying a week of sibling reunification and nostalgia. As part of our time together we took a drive to Gary, IN to visit some of our former homes. The pictures here are a sampling of our trip and proof of the old adage, "you can't go back". Two of the three homes that we lived in while in Gary are now abandoned and uninhabitable. It was such a weird feeling to see the outline of happy, familiar memories and have the "heeby jeeby" tingle going up my spine because I was expecting a drug addict or wild, rabid dog to jump out from the wide-open door, pulled from its hinges.
The homes themselves seemed so much smaller. We all say that when we go back and look at places from our childhood they look so much smaller than we remembered, forgetting that we ourselves were smaller and therefore everything else looked big from our perspective. Walking around yesterday, it was more than that though. The homes literally looked like they had shrunk. To check, I pulled some old photos to compare and they really do look smaller today. Changed landscaping or just overgrown shrubs and grasses that have swallowed the size of the home, missing awnings and planters have all diminished the appearance. A part of me wonders if every home shrinks when a family leaves. I imagine a vacuum pack sealer sucking out the laughter at birthday parties, the late night kisses goodnight, the puppies being born in the backyard, the strawberry patches and graduation open houses. The day my family moved out of these homes we stepped out and closed the door and moved forward to the next place. Pulling away, did we hear the slow, steady, slurping sound of all those moments and memories being extracted, leaving only the vacuum packed house address?
This leaves me with the very helpful take away, I can't go back but I can move forward and inhabit the space I'm in. Every day that I manage to be present and live fully in the moment, I picture myself filling the space of my current home. Hopefully my boys will look back on their home one day and think to themselves, "I remember it being so much bigger!"