Friday, February 3, 2012

A Little Bit Broken

It is always emotionally confusing for me when I come back to Baltimore.

Sometimes I call this "home". But, it's not really my home. Anymore.

My life in Raleigh - it is so full and I am so happy there. It is home.

But, here in the suburbs of Baltimore where I grew up, I know where everything is, how to get from here to there, and yet - as I drove past my old houses and old college apartment yesterday, I kept asking my husband things like, "Was that there before? Wonder when they put that in? Was that always so run down?"

As we slowly climbed up the hill past my high school and I pointed out the red auditorium doors and where I ate lunch and where I used to park my blue Toyota Corolla, Jack smirked and asked my husband, "Dad, is that where you first laid eyes on Mom?"

Laid eyes on Mom. Who is this teenager living inside my seven year-old?

Jason laughed. "No, bud - we met in college, remember? I'll take you there sometime and show you around."

My college campus. It is exactly the same. But, it's not. My dorm is still there - one of four, grey towers where I did a lot of growing up. But, new buildings have sprung up everywhere and parking lots abound. We drive past those old buildings quite often - where I schlepped a backpack full of books around and made lifelong friends. But as life would have it, the hospital is right across the street. And, the hospital, along with a desire to be close to our family when one of them is sick, draws us back here more often than we'd like it to.

I walked through Target today. The one I've been to a hundred times. The one where every cart squeaks. I asked a worker, "Do y'all have Valentines?"

He replied, "I always love hearing people from the South talk."

"I'm from Raleigh", I happily announced because I'm so proud of my city. "But, I'm really from here."

He gave me a sympathetic smile - the "If you say so" kind I give my four year-old when he proudly insists, "Free pwus free is TEN!" and sent me on my way. My squeaky cart and I rounded the corner and I rolled my eyes at how ridiculous I must have sounded.

Home is where your heart is. That's what they say. But, what if your heart is always in two different places?

Sometimes I think that means it's always just a little bit broken. For one home or the other.

So, here I am. Curled up on the familiar plaid sofa at my in-law's house. In Baltimore. Where a thousand of my memories and life stories were made. Where tomorrow - my family will gather together and celebrate new life. A baby shower. For my sister.

My heart is here. I'm home.

But, I'll be going home on Sunday.


  1. I call where I live now home and where I grew up home. The only two places I've lived anyway. Home is where I am at the time. :)

  2. I totally get it. Except I get "homesick" and there's no "home" to go to anymore. That is hard. :(

  3. Sweet post. Home is wherever you are! :)

    I can't relate, I've only been away from the town I grew up in when I left for college. But that is what happens when you marry someone from your high school whose family business is a quarry. I'm envious of those who've moved around and gotten to see other places in the US longer than just on vacation!

  4. I can so relate to this. THey say "Home is where your heart is" and I think often people think that is just one place but for some its not just one place. It is a very torn feeling because your heart is where you grew up, made memories, became who you are and were with people you love and have known most of your life. But home is also where your husband and children are making new memories and new friends. Im still hoping we will move back to where I was born and "Home" will be just one place again though! : )

  5. I can def relate Sarah. My family lived in western PA till I was in K. Even though my actual time living in PA was short, my grandparents and all my cousins lived there so we visited it often growing up further adding to it feeling like home. (much like I imagine your boys will feel towards Baltimore) I lived in the Annapolis area from K- my freshman year at Towson... during which time my parents moved back to western PA. I ended up transferring to PA for the last 3 yrs of college, but after graduating, got married 2 weeks later and moved back to MD. My parents are still in PA. AND, I claim both places as home. It's a weird feeling and I totally get described it perfectly.

  6. That's very much what it's like for a military spouse, like myself - or a child from a broken home, like myself. I have several homes, or so I tell myself. I like to think it makes my life a little fuller - and a little bit difficult at times - the "visiting-family-back-home" times. I call three states and many different cities home, I feel like home is where my family is - all of them. It sounds like you (and I, and many others, I'm sure) have a lot to be thankful for - love, family and many places we consider home. Thank God for each place we've had the opportunity to call home!

  7. I know what you mean. Different spaces for different times in this life we build.

  8. Oh Sarah, I feel exactly the same way!

    I'm from Baltimore too, but my family moved to Louisville, KY when I was an older kid. My parents later divorced and my dad moved back up to the Baltimore/DC area. As a result, I have a southern accent but feel at home in both places. I'm appalled when servers in Baltimore look at you cross-eyed when you order sweet tea, but there's just something missing about Louisville, too. I don't know. Home is so transient for me.

  9. Wait??? You were in Baltimore?? Next time u better come see us!!!;) miss u!

  10. My heart is where my kids are. Although I've lived here in the same little city all of my life I feel like most of me is really not here at all.

    I'm facing surgery in a few weeks and not having my kids here is once again a huge reality check reminding me that home is really where your kids are.

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