I’m coming home,
I’m coming home.
Tell the world I’m coming home.
Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday.
I know my kingdom awaits and they’ve forgiven my mistakes.
I’m coming home, I’m coming home.
Tell the world that I’m coming…
How Long is Too Long?
They say you can’t go home again. While part of me — the nostalgia-filled romantic who pines for ‘the good old days’ — wishes this weren’t so, the more pragmatic side of me begs to differ. ‘Home’ just isn’t home in quite the same way.
I’m not sure where the point of no return actually takes hold — or even if there is one. After you’ve moved away from your childhood roots, how much time must pass before you realize things have changed too much to return home again? Do you calculate it in number of years or broken hearts? Births and deaths, maybe? House moves, promotions, new cars, retirements, grey hairs?
Recently I realized that, at the age of 42, the longest I’ve lived in any one place has actually been my current home for the past 11 years. This is also pretty much the only home my children have known. Even so, I feel like a bit of a nomad, maybe because I just don’t see this as our forever place.
You see, I lived my first six years in Segovia, Spain, then ‘grew up’ in Fredericton, NB, living with my parents straight through my university years and into my first job. After my mom died, I couldn’t wait to move away from home. I had always had the urge to explore new places but mostly I just wanted to get away.
Coming Home No More
After experiencing the delightful freedom of living on my own, I would eventually move with my then-boyfriend-now-husband to Moncton in 1999. From there we would move on to Montreal in 2000 where, for the next five years, we would soak in the city, get married, welcome baby #1 and buy our first house.
The visits ‘home’ became scarcer. And besides, by then my dad had built and moved into a new house. Any remnants of my childhood were gone or packed away in musty cardboard boxes, long-forgotten. Not to mention, friends had moved away, returned, gotten married and had kids of their own. Everyone was busy with their lives, much like we were.
Thankfully my dad visits every Christmas because with the kid-count now up to four, our trips ‘home’ have dwindled. A few years ago, when we hit a particularly rough patch financially, we briefly contemplated selling our house. Even still we couldn’t fathom coming home again despite the lower cost of living. Because it just wasn’t the same. And yet, we still refer to ‘back east’ as home.
Where You Lead I Will Follow
I realized that 21 years after moving out on my own, just when I thought I couldn’t go home again, there was a piece of my heart that had never actually left. There will always be a familiar pull to the things, people and places that helped shape who I am today.
Of course, I want to go back to visit, to show my kids where I grew up and went to school, but landscapes change. At the risk of waxing nostalgic, it is the people — the relationships — that keep me grounded and connected to ‘home’. They nourish that piece of my heart; the one that continues to grow and change with each beat no matter where I am.
Nostalgia hit especially hard this past week with the return of the Netflix Original, Gilmore girls: A Year in the Life. It was like a long-anticipated reunion with old friends, by turns awkward and emotional. Whether you were a die-hard fan during the original series’ seven-season run or simply picked up the odd fast-paced-Lorelai-Rory-banter-filled episode here and there, like I did, you will appreciate a glimpse into the ‘where are they now’ which will leave you wondering, if only for a moment, whether or not you ever really can come home again.