Friday, November 1, 2013

home and heart

I grew up as a homebody but that is not who I am; I like traveling and can make myself comfortable in almost any location.  When I was younger, before my friends and I started settling down, I often spent the weekend away from home.  My friends and I always carried weekend bags because you just never knew where you would end up.  After going out on Friday, we would all migrate to one of our homes and fall asleep there. Saturday, after the rugby match, my teammates and I would head over to another teammate's home and would usually remain through Sunday.  Then I would wake up on Sunday morning and visit my Aunt and Uncle before returning to my home on Sunday night.  I liked this lifestyle.  I liked it a lot more than what I grew up with.

My mother is a very private person who keeps the locks on the doors at all times. I sometimes wonder if that is her personality or if she was more affected from growing up in wartime than her older and younger sisters, who are more open and outgoing. My father has never cottoned to the idea of sharing his girls with others so he was happy enough to spend my childhood weekends hiking with my sister and me or staying in.

When I was ten or so, we visited my father's youngest sister in Texas and I was exposed to a whole new world. My teenage cousin was an only child, but she had a dozen friends over at any time of day or night. My aunt and uncle were hosting not only my family, but another family who came over once a month to go sailing with them.  When you added neighbors stopping by to chat (that didn't happen with my family, with the doors being locked and all) it became one, boisterous flurry of a week.  I loved it.  I loved meeting all sorts of interesting people and learning about them.  It was very sad when a few days later my father packed us up for an impromptu weekend hiking trip.  "I miss spending time with my girls." he said happily as we drove away.  As though we didn't spend every weekend having family only time.  And my mother didn't even like to hike!  She spent the weekend alone in the hotel room, watching television with a Do Not Disturb sign on the door while my sister and I went hiking in the oppressive Texas heat with our father.

I had experienced a taste of how other people lived and I wanted it.  It took seven years but I finally became old enough to leave home and live with unlocked doors. Apparently I am too welcoming because SB has lectured me a few times about how there are times to lock the door, like when you leave for a few minutes to buy milk or go downstairs to chat with a neighbor. Of course, now that I have settled down, staying in is not all that bad.  There is a moment when I walk through the door of our little flat when I can feel the stress of the day slipping away, followed by the anticipation of seeing my beloved waiting for me.  Or at least sitting on the couch, scratching himself and waiting for me to feed him.  It feels like home and I like that.

No comments: