When I moved here a little over two years ago, I was drawn to this yard. Finally, this place for us. I was excited. Oblivious to what lie ahead, but regaining a home base for my family. Nonetheless. Starting again. The adjustment period was nothing I could manipulate into something more manageable than it was. I didn’t even know I was adjusting. After only a year since the changes, I was still adjusting. Go figure.
By nature, from my childhood, I can make a home anywhere. Even back in the lean city years, I embraced our rusty water. The inconveniences. Bad landlords. Bad locations. And parking tickets being the new religion. I have been happy everywhere. Because along with often assigning periods of stress, or trauma to my home, I also, without fail, will assign feelings of great joy and beautiful memories. Until it becomes it’s own entity. Not something easily left behind or forgotten, simply due to what it will always hold for me. I attach memories to things too often. I know this. But that will not change. It’s how I hold on to periods of my life. It’s how I hold on to parts of me.
I have always been a protector. Even when I was nothing else. I was that. Even when I had nothing else, I still had that. Purpose. So often, I had been in the position to protect my mother’s heart. And mend it. To protect my brother’s body. Often mending that as well. To protect my wife from her own pain. And my children from whatever runoff that I missed. It didn’t take long after settling in here, to realize I would guard their new home life with my best. Regardless of how out of place I felt. And how out of place I was in my own life. It was still that purpose returned to me. To build a safe, accepting home structure where, not long before, it had failed.
A lot has happened here. A lot of change. A lot of long nights, and months of struggling in silence for things that will not be resolved in my lifetime. Broken will and desperation. Loss of found hope. Inadvertent isolation and alienation during my inevitable breakdown. Both love and anger. Growth.
A lot has happened here. A lot of change. A lot of long nights working towards fulfilment in work I love. Being stronger, to make sure my kids feel heard at all costs. Healing and rebuilding myself and my own health. Relearning everything I always thought I knew. Applying genuine objectivity and peace for our survival. Both love and anger. And, I found balance…I think.
All of it’s been here. All of it’s been in this time. In a place and period I have both loved and loathed equally. Interchangeable. At times, overlapping. We will find that that is life. These tides can wash in and overpower us unexpectedly. Filling these senses. Then they recede before we are ready to let go. They disappear. Then mix again, and again. Concurrently, we can be left feeling empty, maybe resentful for the loss…and still smile while waiting for that tide to return. Because we still remember exactly what it felt like.
But time moves on. In this yard I loved, the swingset and play structure no longer get use. Our weekend fires no longer have a place on the schedule. I hire out a yard I was once glad to tend myself. My dog’s fence remains half painted from when my excitement for it first waned. But inside, the evolution looks different. It’s solid now. It’s welcoming at the end of our days. It’s lit softly around the clock for comfort, no longer out of fear or sadness. It’s open. And it’s safe. Growth in one place, loss in another. Inside and out.
And this may, indeed, be exactly what balance is. It may be what’s necessary sacrifice. I don’t know. As much as I sometimes feel I’d love to leave this place, and this time behind, to move along. I’m just not ready. My memories are what’s holding me to it. To this balance of the sorrows and joy. The loss and the growth. So I stay. And will. I embrace the balance and smile, while waiting out the tides in my life. No matter how confused I ever am about everything in this time, I wouldn’t give these memories in exchange for any others. Because even while I hurt, I know what feels like home. I’m not ready to move along.