Going Home.

October 14, 2011

When I was a little girl, we moved. And I never got over it.

You know you love my sweats. And our rockin' bedspread. 80's flashback...

We lived in this small town in New Jersey, one of those places you see in the movies with big trees and gabled homes with shutters, and I rode the bus to school and back with my friends. We had a big backyard with honeysuckles, a neighboring barn, and a tire swing. My dad was the pastor so we lived in the church manse, but at 6 years old it was just my home.

At the time it was just me, my brother and my sister, both younger. My other little brother was born much later. Us three did everything together – forts under our bunk beds, story telling, pretending the sprinkler was a door to a magical world, and reenacting the Christmas nativity scene by wearing dishcloths on our heads. I had friends within walking distance – one of whom is Erika from NAMAmmaSTE.

I’ve told this story before, but one day my parents told us we were moving. My dad was very, very ill with allergies in New Jersey. During summer he’d lay in a purified room with tissues stuffed up his nose and his eyes glowing red. He had another job in Colorado.

I only remember bits and pieces, but I do remember the last person I saw in New Jersey was Erika, and then our friends (who became Kim from Baby Feet’s in laws) saw us off.

It’s been 20 years. You’d think in that amount of time I’d have gotten over it. At the very least not tear up every time I write about it. I used to have dreams so vividly of going back. Walking through my old school. After we moved I kinda fell apart – from grades to friends. Nothing really ever worked out the way it was supposed to for a really long time after that. Like until just a few years ago.

I don’t know why it hit me so hard. I think I’ve probably built it up in my mind, as an 8 year old who goes through their first real move tends to do. I’ve wondered if I’d ever be able to go back and see it again.

Tomorrow, I’m flying back east. Partly for BlogHer Writers next week, but in my heart it’s for the little town in New Jersey. I get to take my daughter with me, and go with Erika and her little boy back to where we grew up for the three years together – where I consider the happiest years of my childhood to have been. I get to see her and her family, chat with her while our kids play and probably throw joint temper tantrums :), see my old home, the church, the school, all the places that I remember.

Then I’m off to stay with Kim and finally meet her kids – after hearing them on the phone for over a year and “knowing” them since they were born. Her husband has known my parents for close to 30 years – and my entire life. I can’t wait to squeeze them all and get to spend time with knitting and chatting with Kim.

Then BlogHer in NY, and learn about being published one day.

It’s going to be amazing. I plan on blogging it all as much as I can, because this is a moment I have waited 20 years for. To stand in front of my little, white, two story home in the town that I never stopped loving, with my daughter on my hip and my childhood friend and her son by my side – to cry like I’m 8 again and finally, finally be ok with it all. To let it all go and truly understand that my life is what it is, and I am so happy with it, because of that move.

I can’t wait to see you two. And to talk about all of you guys. Don’t think we won’t – because we so will. All good of course. :p

15 Comments

  • Jenny

    October 17, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    I totally understand your emotions about going back ‘home’. I have similar memories of my childhood. From birth to 4th grade my parents and I lived with my grandma in her house in an old suburb of Chicago and that’s where my best childhood memories come from. From 4th grade on though it all went downhill… 5 moves, 4 towns, 6 schools and 2 divorces all before HS graduation and landing (for good) in Colorado. My grandma owned that house for another many years after we moved out, but when she finally sold it it was devastating. I remember driving by to take ‘one last look’ after the new owners moved in and I just sat in the car in the street and cried, looking at the ‘for sale – SOLD’ sign still in the front yard. I was crushed.

    I hope you get what you want & need from this trip, both from your trip down memory lane and BlogHer. I look forward to hearing about it. 😉
    P.S. And thanks for prompting me to think back on my childhood memories, although there were a few tears involved.

  • Kim

    October 15, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    I remember the pidgeons flying around town after church and then landing on the peak of the church. Those were awesome times!!!!! Hope you have a blast going down memory lane. Hope to see you next week!!!!

  • Adam @ Hanging with Dad

    October 14, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    I totally get what you mean with this post.

    I spent my first 2 years of life in Oklahoma (not proud to admit that), then 3 in Texas, then 6 years in Long Beach (from 5-11) and I’ve been back in Texas since then.

    My formative years were in Long Beach and even after we moved back I considered myself a Californian. I was going to move back someday and it was going to be great. Finally, when I was about 22 or 23, I realized that I am a Texan and came to terms with it.

    I still look forward to going back to Long Beach and seeing the house I grew up in, but moving back isn’t in my mind anymore. I got to see one of my two best friends from there when we visited San Diego two years ago, but it wasn’t the same. Of course, unlike you, I never kept in touch with them so meeting up was slightly awkward.

    All the best, travel safe and have a hell of a time.

  • Kim

    October 14, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    So, I’m a sobbing mess. So glad you get to come back. Can’t wait to see you!!

  • Jess

    October 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    I’m so excited for you! Have fun and get to writing 🙂

  • Erika @NAMAmmaSTE

    October 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    CAN’T WAIT! 🙂

  • Tabetha Smelser

    October 14, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    This made me tear up! What a lovely post. I hope going back to your childhood home is everything you want it to be and need it to be.

  • Lori

    October 14, 2011 at 10:55 am

    This post made me think of all the good memories I have of that little town in NJ. It was so good to be back there for a visit this summer. I’m sure you will have a fabulous time. I have similar issues about moving from NJ when i was a child. I’m sure it’s might have been possible that we were at the same party or something. I really love reading your blog and look forward to reading about your trip.

  • Good Girl Gone Green

    October 14, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Have fun, D and tell us all about it!

  • Suz

    October 14, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Have so much fun! Take photos & soak in all the memories {new & old}. Can’t wait to follow your experience from here.

  • Jen

    October 14, 2011 at 8:52 am

    I think everyone should go “home” at least once as an adult. It truly makes you value so much more. My parents are the eternal nomads, but I have passed by old houses and thought, “Wow, there were a lot of good times in that house/neighborhood.” Enjoy every second, and be sure and take a lot of pictures!!

  • Stacy

    October 14, 2011 at 8:39 am

    It hasn’t changed much. Hope you have a blast! If you want to squeeze a baby let me know 🙂 We happen to have one available!

  • Alexia

    October 14, 2011 at 8:20 am

    So excited for you! And jealous too. Cause I can’t think of anything more fun than meeting Erika IRL and hanging with Kim again (cause she’s awesome). Have a wonderful time and good luck at BlogHer Writers.

    P.S. My little sister had the EXACT same comforter set when we were kids. It brings back great memories…

    1. Erika @NAMAmmaSTE

      October 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm

      I want to meet you IRL too! Hopefully someday!

  • Samantha

    October 14, 2011 at 7:42 am

    This made me tear up, Have a wonderful time, be sure to tell us all about it.

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