once upon a time, there was a girl. and she had a family. a mother, a father, a younger brother and the cutest puppy ever. they lived in a house. at the end of the street. they had trials and tribulations like anyone. life was not easy during those years. but the struggle may have made them stronger. once upon a time, this girl felt safe and protected in this family. she felt like she belonged………
tonight, i had dinner with the neighbors i grew up next door to. it was a wonderful evening. i got there at 645pm and left at 1am, i’d say we had an awesome time visiting and catching up. they are like family to us, so this isn’t the first time i’ve seen them, but tonight WAS the first time i got to spend time alone with them, without my family at their home. next door to my childhood home.
all week i have been so excited to see them. to see my childhood home and to take that walk down memory lane.
but something happened tonight i never in a million years expected. and i don’t think i’ll be getting over anytime soon. i need some time to digest it. time to mourn and time to accept it.
20 years ago i left to go to college.
18 years ago my parents moved out of the house i grew up in. tonight, as i drove down to the end of the cul-de-sac and saw the blue trimmed house i grew up in, i began to sob. uncontrollably. i never expected that. ever.
i’ve seen the house before, it’s not the first time i’ve driven by, i mean it’s only 12 miles from where i live now. but for some reason, tonight it ALL hit me. it ALL came to the surface and it ALL caught me very off guard.
the last time i felt part of my family was when i lived in that house.
they moved while i was away at college and the house they moved into 30 or so miles away has NEVER felt like MY home. i have never felt completely comfortable there and i have never called it my house. they still live in that house they moved to and even now, 18 years later it’s not MY home. when i go there, it doesn’t feel like going home. i don’t get that warm, fuzzy feeling i miss so much. that feeling when everything in the world is wrong and you walk in the front door and take in all the scents of your family home, plop down on the couch and suddenly you feel better, just because you’re home.
i never realized this until tonight. i have not had that feeling in 18 years.
i love my family. we all have our ups and downs but my parents did the best they could raising us and i have the utmost respect for them. they made the decisions for our family that they believed were right for us at the time and as an almost 38-year-old woman, i get it, i do.
what i had never realized before tonight when i drove down that cul-de-sac was that with that move 18 years ago, and my not being there, i wasn’t part of it. i never REALLY had the closure i needed. i don’t know i ever will.
the logistics of the move and why we moved aren’t important right now, they ARE important but not for any reasons pertaining to this post. i’ll post about that another time.
but tonight i realized, for 18 years i’ve felt alone.
i’ve felt like an outsider with my own family.
i’ve felt robbed of a place to call home.
i’m very blessed to have parents married after 40+ years, living together in a beautiful house and yet, the last time i felt part of a family was in that house.
i graduated middle school while we lived in that house.
i went to high school while we lived in that house.
i learned to drive and got my first car while we lived in that house.
i had my first kiss while we lived in that house.
i graduated high school and left for college from that house.
i grew up in that house.
we had nightly family dinners in that house. we fought in that house. we laughed in that house. there were arguments and fights and laughter and tears. fun memories and sad memories. loss and growth and so much change in both my brother and i.
when i saw that house tonight i felt like it was the last time i had a family. i don’t know why. i don’t know if this is a normal feeling when ones parents move while they’re away and then the next time they come home, they come home to a new house?! all i know is that just sitting there in my car, staring at it, tears rolling down my face it all became clear. i don’t know why. i don’t know how to fix it, it just is what it is. but now i understand it, and i don’t know how to handle it. how to digest it. how to accept it.
maybe if i had a family of my own it wouldn’t be as profound as it felt tonight. i don’t know.
but i didn’t want to leave. i left and sat on the side street just watching my old bedroom window. i didn’t go inside, but just being on my street. and in my neighbor’s home, made me feel a kind of safety i haven’t felt in a long time. it was a feeling i miss. a feeling i long for. a feeling i’m so lucky to have had.
i just couldn’t stop watching my house. every little detail.
the sign, still hanging on the side, just below the roof with our address on it, 17657 that my brother, father and i made when we were young. it still hangs there.
not much else is the same so the pictures i could get were limited, but just the little i could see was enough. it was a feeling. a safety. i didn’t even have to go inside the house to feel it. i don’t understand it, and maybe that’s why i couldn’t wait to get home and write about it.
about how safe i felt just being there. how i realized, that i haven’t quite felt loved the way i did when we lived there. i haven’t had the relationship with my family as i did when i lived there. obviously a lot of that is age and dynamics changing, i get that part. i went from a tween to an adult, life and relationships change. but i always feel so alone even AT my parents house now and it never made sense before.
i feel like an outsider. even after all these years. i had a room there, but it’s not MY room. my parents house now that they have lived in for 18 years is beautiful and they are so lucky to have such a beautiful home and i’m so grateful that i DO have a family home to go to. but tonight when i looked at that house i realized that i miss that feeling of being part of the family that lived in that house.
maybe i miss being younger and having no REAL problems. maybe some of it is longing for an easier time. a time with few responsibilities. a time when i thought i knew exactly how my life was going to go. a time where i had dreams. and plans. a time that was just plain easier than today.
i don’t know. but i can’t stop crying. i can’t stop thinking how i loved how it felt inside that home, i felt safe. i felt like i could take on the world. and being there tonight i realized how much i missed that feeling. how i long for it. how i need it again. somehow. someway.