A few weeks ago I wrote about how love songs are now reinterpreted in my head as being not about romantic love but about the love I have for my daughter. I was realizing that the same principle applies to so much more than just song lyrics– the meaning of so many concepts has changed since Darwin has come into my life. Love. Family. Free time. Productivity. It’s all different now. And today, on the eve of the first anniversary of my daughter’s birth, I’m thinking about the idea of “home.”
Home has been a tricky one for me. Growing up, we moved a lot. Sometimes just across town to a cheaper apartment, a few times bigger moves, out of state. When my parents divorced, they had joint legal custody of my sisters and myself, but our primary residence– our home– was with my mother. Jobs and relationships moved us around, making it difficult for me to feel settled, or “nested” as they say in the parenting plans I read as part of my job in the law office, in any given place. Home was where my things were. Home was where my mom was. It’s actually funny to think about that now, considering a conversation I had with my mom probably about 2 years ago when she told me she wished I would come home for a visit– to a house I had never seen, in a state I’m not sure I’ve ever even visited. I told her then that Oregon is my home now, and she took great offense to that. We have lived in our current house for longer than I ever lived in one place as a child. It’s the closest I’ve had to a stable, physical home since my parents split up over 20 years ago.
But it’s not my house that is my home. It’s my family. It’s Rachel, and it’s Darwin.
It’s the giggles in the morning when Dar is just waking up, and it’s the snuggles at night when I’m bouncing her to sleep. It’s when she smiles so hard her face shakes (literally). It’s the tug on my hair when she’s sleepy and it’s the raspberries she blows at the end of every kiss.
It’s Rachel giving that little caress on my shoulder as she walks by, or the sleepy smile she gives me over Dar’s shoulder as she nurses. It’s the symbol she traces on my hand in a dark theater, our personal code for “I love you.” It can be, has been and will be anywhere, but right now it’s here. Home is whenever I’m with them.