When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Going home

We just returned from a wonderful vacation, the second part of which involved a trip to visit my mom and dad at their house in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. While I realized recently that I have lived away from the Soo more years than I actually lived there (can I really be that old??), that doesn't ever seem to change the fact that the landscape, the city, my parents' house, and the people I love who live there still make me feel each time I go that I am returning home.

My parents have lived in their house for nearly 35 years. This home of my childhood has undergone many, many changes over the years: neither my bedroom nor the one my brothers shared beside it exists any longer, as my parents converted them into one large bedroom once all three of us kids had moved to our own spaces. The yard, which was once a rectangular lot with only a few trees and shrubs, has been transformed into a beautiful garden paradise under the hard work and loving care of my mom and dad over the years. The decor has changed inside and out many times; there is a new kitchen, different paint, and the pool that my dad put in when I was a preteen has recently been taken out. Despite the fact that the house looks nothing much like what it did when I was young, there is always a warm familiarity about it, because the things that matter most to me haven't changed at all.

I love walking into my parents' house to the irresistable aroma of my dad's pasta sauce simmering away on the stove, a scent that reminds me of one of my favourite childhood meals with my family. My mom's warm smile and excited voice always let me know just how glad she is to see me after we've spent a long time apart. We all still spend evenings playing games together like we did when I was young; the same two people who taught me how to play checkers and to be a gracious loser (a hard lesson for me to learn!) now clobber Matt and I at Bananagrams (because, as always, they are truly word tile game whizzes!)

I love to see the boys making their memories in the spaces that remind me of my own happy stories from the past. This trip, Noah and Will spent hours swinging contentedly in a hammock in the spot where my brothers and I used to play hide and seek, and the two of them always look forward to peeking inside the old red suitcases my family used to use for travel to find the toys and craft supplies that my mom has so thoughtfully put there for them. It's hard to imagine another place where the past and the present combine so beautifully and bring me so much happiness.

I have called several cities "home" over the past few decades, but there is something extra special about the home I grew up in. I will forever feel gratitude as I drive towards the north with its welcoming lakes, shores, rocks, and trees, towards the home where my dear family (and part of my heart) still lives.

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