Saturday, May 3, 2008

You can never go home again

Usually that saying is about returning to the home that you grew up in, your childhood bedroom, the fort in the backyard. You look around and it doesn't look quite like you remember. In your mind the fake Christmas tree of your youth was huge, but after a visit home, it just looks small.

That's how it was for us when we went back to Madison to sell our house. I brought the camera with plans to take lots of pictures. Since we moved away 9 months ago we've had many of the rooms painted, a new roof installed, new kitchen counters put in. Little and big changes to help move this thing along. I was so excited to see the changes.

The moment we arrived I knew a shift had happened. Pulling into the drive the way I had a million times no longer felt like coming home. I looked at the house that stood silent, no longer welcoming us in. I thought back to the day we bought it, back when it was just me and M and 2 cats. We rushed over before the chaos of the move to celebrate with a bottle of wine and had a carpet picnic in the dining room. As I nursed Sophie on the same floor (now covered with new carpet) I remembered. This was our first house. Our children were born here. We became a family here.

We had our fill of cheese curds from State Street Brats, Dorowat from Buraka, mac-n-cheese pizza from Ian's (don't knock it till you try it). We payed homage to the yellow diesel engine and stocked up on Wollersheim wine at Woodmans. We stayed overnight in a charming suite at Memorial Union overlooking Lake Mendota and the terrace where we had spent so much time enjoying WI's finest beers, Babcock ice cream and free live music.
After the closing we went back to the house (this time parking on the street) to retrieve St. Joe from the front yard and say goodbye to the best neighbors we might ever have. As we drove away I wondered when exactly the shift took place, when Madison ceased being Home. It wasn't when we moved our things, that I know for sure. Home isn't just about where you put your stuff, I suppose. Its the feeling that you get when you pull in the driveway and know you belong there.


RK said...

Really good post, girl! I'm glad it's all over and done for your sake and sanity. But there will always be the good memories, of course. And that mac n cheese pizza DOES look good. Did you bring me some?!?

JRS said...

Sorry! Things got too busy and we were unable to pick up a pie for the road. I wonder if they deliver?