Holiday Home

winter, 2009

I live pretty far away from where I grew up, and make at least one trip a year back to the family home. It’s in southwestern Ontario, a predominantly Mennonite farming community that’s not far from towns and cities. For me, these visits always involve spending time in a strange kind of identity interzone. Unconsciously or not, parents keep looking for the children they raised, and we keep trying to make them recognize us as the adults we’ve become. In these conditions, old patterns re-emerge with ease.

My old room is an office, but still smells right. My brother’s old room is the guest room. The house is the one I grew up in: the water pressure in the shower is still terrible, and the hallway still creaks in spots I’d learned to pad around in the dark of post-curfew hours. But it’s also changed in ways I wish it hadn’t: I keep opening the wrong drawer for the cutlery. The room that Dad added more than 10 years ago still feels out of place and temporary. I’m always a bit surprised by it, as if I thought it had only been dreamed.

We’re familiar strangers to each other, the house, my parents and me. And that’s the paradox of home, that we return to it looking for things that can’t be there, because they’re dependent on us never changing.

3 Responses to “Holiday Home”

  • Gradiva Says:

    Beautiful. I know the feeling of going back to some place and not liking to find it changed, as if someone had been pulling out threads from the tapestry of our past.
    I like your idea of slow blogging, too, and I am preparing my own version, very slowly of course.
    I will let you know when it’s finished.
    Keep up the good slow work!

  • elizabeth beckett Says:

    there are five things a monk should frequently recollect. Allow me to share one: All that is mine precious and lovely, will become otherwise will become separated from me.

  • we_be_toys Says:

    I’ve come back and read this post twice so far – I can’t add anything to what you’ve profoundly and succinctly said, other than to say this resonates for me.
    And the concept of slow blogging seems so much more intuitive and sensible than random spewing – sorry, blogging. I had come to a similar conclusion myself not too far back, and it’s fortifying to know others feel the same way. Thank you!

Leave a Reply