My assignment from E (therapist) is to answer the question, “What stops you from accepting help?” and my assignment from D (life coach) is to let go of the logistical questions and answer what is home?
Tall order from my two mentors.
Today at breakfast, Tin had brought all of his cars and trucks and planes – there was Lightning McQueen, Squishy, Dumper, Mater, and the rest and he ate his pasta (that’s what he wanted for breakfast) and I drank my decaf and we both were looking outside at the sunny day. It’s 74 degrees here in New Orleans and it’s January. Tin was talking about the relationships between the cars and at some point he was eating and talking with his mouth full and I asked him to finish chewing before he spoke. And so he took a long time chewing and then he looked up at me and said, “This is our home, isn’t it?”
And I almost started crying, or rather my eyes welled up and I looked at him with no answer – will the LaLa sell, will we stay, will we leave, where will we make our home and I just said, “For now it is.”
I have been conjuring up the spirit of my mother but I’ve also enlisted help from my grandmother. Looking out at the large windows in the back yard of my neighbor, I see windows lined against the fence that are weathered with paint peeling and old glass, and for some reason it made me think of my grandmother, and her farm in Franklinton, and how comforting it was to know that she and her home were always there during so much of my young transient life.
I want more than anything else in the world to have a home. I want this for me and I want this for Tin.
What does home mean to me, it is that hug that I need from my grandmother right now, it’s the familiar in the face of the uncertain, it’s a place to rest and to have shelter from the storm. Home is at the core of who I am.
What does home feel like? It’s inside and outside beautiful aesthetically but also in its quirkiness.
Why has this home, the LaLa, wrecked so much havoc on my life? Should I blame myself for having a dream to come home to New Orleans and live here with my husband and have a child? Should I blame myself for the 2005 Federal Flood? Should I blame myself that my then husband didn’t share my dream of family? Should I blame myself that when I needed my job and salary to be dependable it was not? Should I blame myself that carpet baggers ripped me off when I was building the LaLa? Should I blame myself that the elements – sun and water – conspire to keep maintenance of a house so overwhelming? Should I make myself complicit in the facts of the reconfigured dream I conjured of a family here?
A home is where you lay your head down and rest. A home is where you enter with an open heart. A home is where you share meals together.
Home is at the core of what I yearn for in life.
WHAT THE LIVING DO
by Marie Howe
Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there.
And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up
waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the everyday we spoke of.
It’s winter again: the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through
the open living-room windows because the heat’s on too high in here and I can’t turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,
I’ve been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,
I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.
What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss–we want more and more and then more of it.
But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m gripped by a cherishing so deep
for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m speechless:
I am living. I remember you.