I spent the past week in my childhood home. Or, should I say, my American childhood home. Nestled among the cedar trees and live oaks of the Texas hill country, this old house has always waited patiently for us to come back to it. Even when someone else was living in it, it still stood as a testimony of permanence, standing there like a promise that we would all be together again, some day.
Mom and Dad have moved back in for a time, and my sister has, too. When the kids and I pulled up and parked under the hack berry tree, whose uppermost branches I used to share with the wind, the house reached out and welcomed me. The five year old Danica, the fifteen year old Danica, were in there too.
After the clatter of greetings and hugs for everyone, the weight of my life and memories settled down on me. Parts of me were hiding all throughout this house. There between the railings on the landing, the four year old me dangled her feet. Three year old Danica bumped down the stairs one by one on her butt. The fourteen year old was hiding up in the corner bedroom with her dreams and castles. And there I was in the middle of it all, trying to figure out where I fit in, now.
The oddly displaced feeling lasted through our week long visit, and followed me back home to the desert. The kids and I tumbled out of the car on the tail end of our 12 hour trip. I watched as they said, Hello I missed you to their childhood home. But I still felt disconnected.
The next day, we waited eagerly for Daddy to come home from his conference. The kids drew with ice cubes on the sidewalk and I watched from the shade of the porch, as we kept a lookout for his little red rice burner. Finally, it appeared around the corner, and we all jumped up as he pulled into the driveway.
I was the first one in his arms. And in his arms, I was finally home.