15 May 2011

Putting Down Roots

Last night Daryl, Em, and I went for a walk a few blocks from the house on a street where everyone seemed to be named Tom. Emmaline stole a ball from some girls playing Four Square, which Wikipedia informs me is a game I'm not likely to need to know the rules of for at least a few years. They stared at her. She stared at them. We had a difficult time relinquishing the ball and moving on.

Ultimately, though, we did go in search of rabbits and the moon. While doing this we chatted with one of the Toms. He told us that most of the people on the street had been living there since the homes were built in the nineties. New homes. Beautiful homes that have granite counter tops in their kitchens and insulation in their walls and bathtubs that are not rusting around their drains. Telling us how much he loved the neighborhood, you would think it had been there for ever. And to him it had been. It had been there for all of his adult life. He got married and bought a house with an attached garage and had 2.2 children. These years and this place were all that mattered.

Were we from Danvers, he wanted to know. We are not. We are not really from anywhere. I thought this was normal. I thought that going away to college and not coming home was the thing that people do. Not so, it seems. Instead, I am beginning to realize, there are people who have constancy, longevity, who know the shortcuts and the traffic patterns, people who have a place that they call home.

I like our house. I like our town. The process of choosing said house and said town was protracted and painstakingly performed. But ultimately the house chose us. It had the in law apartment we needed for my parents. It had the "history" we thought we liked, though really that just means nice woodwork and decrepit bathrooms. The town came with the house and not the other way around.

So when will we begin to feel like we actually belong. Will it not be until Emmaline is in school? Will our belonging stem from her belonging? Maybe. It has been less than a year and, yes, sometimes the house almost feels like home. Almost, but not quite. The living room is familiar, of course, filled as it is with my parents furniture, the furniture I grew up with and have known all of my life. The plates we eat off of are similarly familiar, being my parents', accumulated over years of combing Dansk outlets to replace those we had broken over the decades since their marriage. Much of the art is theirs as well. The dining room table. The painted glass lamps. Em's rocking horse.

They are familiar items. They should make it easier to settle in, shouldn't they, since the alternative would be empty rooms? But I do wonder sometimes if they make it more difficult instead. Maybe the house does not always feel like home because it feels like my parents home and I left that long ago. Emmaline doesn't seem to know the difference. She is happy to crawl on my parents'dining room table, happy to treat it as her own. She doesn't know that it's never been as stable or as strong since another little girl crawled on top of it thirty years ago to draw on it in black permanent marker, marker that you can still see, what with it being permanent and all.

So maybe we will have to let Em take the lead. She's happy. She learned to walk in the family room and learned to climb stairs on the, you know, stairs.

This house is forever as far as she's concerned and I guess that does make this a home.

We'll just have to keep trying to grow into it.

No comments:

Post a Comment