finding home

We went to G&D's summer place on Saturday, so that G and M could go into Brooklyn together for a gig that G's band had. That left D and I, our 2 boys each, and almost all of G's Italian family filling the house with commentary, banter, (mostly in italian of course), loads of food, and the usual jockeying that goes on between siblings and parents of what to do, when, with how many people, and once a decision is made it's discarded and remade several times before it gets settled on. (Heavy foreshadowings of our family camping later this week, I'm sure! Just minus the italian ...)

Initally I felt very out of place, as the boys and I were staying overnight (loads of bedrooms) but I still felt intrusive into their family enclave, as welcoming as they were. It didn't help that Douglas hauled out a chess set within 3 minutes of arrival, and accidentally knocked the pieces all over the floor, some of them marble and broken. One of the uncles freaked out, and didn't take D's assurances that they had been mostly broken already (it was a hodge-podge of several old sets and I don't doubt she was right) too well. His edginess put me on edge more than I already was. I knew that the parents who came (Nono and Nona) rarely venture out of their home in the Bronx, and had made special pains to come be with their kids. They welcomed me, shoved extra food at me, and made me feel like I belonged. I realized near the end of dinner that if I was to have a good time, and they weren't to feel obligated, that I just better relax and make myself at home and stop feeling like a 3rd wheel. Fynn's single-handed charming of the edgy uncle, and the kids going down to the basement to play (full of giant blocks, mats, dress up clothes, ride on toys, and mouse poop) helped a lot :).

After breakfast on Sunday, the boys holed up in front of the TV and watched a Sponge Bob marathon, keeping amazingly quiet.

The house (former barn) is huge and roomy and so comfortable, you can't help feel at home there. But the part that made it truly a home was the love/connections between the family members, and between G and D and us. G's always had the ability to make me see the value of relaxation and flowing from one activity to the next, for some reason. Letting connections be made and thoughts expressed, without being too careful about things that don't really matter.

In my wandering around the property, I'd seen some ropes hanging from the trees, across the marshy lake that separated the house from most of the surrounding forest. I'd done some creek wading, and when M and G returned late-morning, I left the kids and went and checked them out. Sure enough, there was a long rope swing with a t-bar at the bottom, an even taller (35+ feet) rope swing with a log seat and the most delicious gentle arc to it, and a rope ladder that looked like a ship's rigging strung between two trees.

I tried them out, then went back and convinced the men and boys to come along and join the fun. There was much joyful squealing, some squabbling about turns, and then the thunder drove us back into the house.

We packed and left, leaving G and D awaiting the return of their family from church. It was time to go and leave them to their own, and yet hard too as they are so open in sharing what they have. Lovely friends, people, and parents.

I realized on the way home that I was having these momentary flashes of familiar and unfamiliar. We'd driven that way a couple times, and some of the sights were already in my memory bank, and others seemed totally new. I've been having that a lot with my running lately also, as I go the same routes around here multiple times. The web of 'familiar MA' is growing daily.

The desire for familiar things. Calling MA home for now, and referring to Bklyn as bklyn. Douglas loving it here, starting to recognize things, and wishing he lived here. Where is home to be? It's wherever we choose to feel it, wherever we are as family, but roots are starting to play a part. Where do we plant them? I feel the pull to do so, and yet a fear too of getting too settled to travel. I feel like there are two very strong desires in there, and the two are always dancing. New things and familiar things. Familiar is comfortable, known, easy, and predictable. Understood. New things can be disturbing, vague, shaky, and exhilarating. Full of potential and wonder and joy. So can the familiar I suppose, but it's not as easy.

I love both things. I want a new place to put down roots, discover, contribute to, reshape and make into beautiful things, connect, and grow in. A place my boys will revel in, not feel bound by. I want them to live outside, not inside. I think I want to too.