I didn’t feel like doing anything that day. I even took Moxie for quick, business-only walks. I sat in my oversize sweatshirt and leggings and mindlessly watched reruns of Chopped. It was a Sunday afternoon, and I told myself it was a “good day to be lazy.”
But, in reality — I knew I was lying to myself. I was close to looking like a Cymbalta commercial, because I was very homesick. And, we had only been in Chicagoland for a couple of weeks.
I forcibly freshened myself up, shook it off and ran errands/did laundry/made dinner and felt better. But, not after a good, minute-long cry in the arms of my supportive and loving fiance. I cried for “just a minute”, like my mom always reminded me, for anything beyond that is excessive and winds up throwing you right back to where you started.
While I was snapping myself back into shape, I thought about the word “homesick” — and the word “home” even more.
Where is my home? I mean, I live here. But, my family is in NY. So, do I have two homes, I asked myself.
When you’re growing up, you go on vacation, away to school, move out on your own for the first time…but you know you can always go home (to your old room and the comfort of your parents). But, by the time you are engaged to be married and maybe even just so happen to move to another state, you’re building a life, a family…a home, together.
So, I conditioned myself to make, call and think of Illinois as my home, saying things like, “We’re going back to New York for Christmas” and “Back in New York…” in lieu of “back home…” — because I didn’t want to feel like (or give the impression that) we were just visiting Illinois, because hey, it deserved a fair shot. And so did we. I was determined. I vowed to be stronger, power through any inkling I was feeling sad, not cry, to count my blessings and look forward to happy times with loved ones.
I didn’t cry for months.
“Where are you getting married”, the consultant who helped me into my now-wedding dress asked me in the dressing room.
“We’re going home to New York…” I slipped in response while stepping out, seeing my mother — who had just flown in to visit the day before — sitting in the chair by the mirrored wall, and how her jaw dropped and hands clasped together at the sight of her daughter — her only child — in what was oh-so-obviously-the wedding gown, and I instinctively choked back tears of overwhelming emotion.
Home. Home had come to Illinois.
How could I have been so provincial? Was I really that guarded and eager to avoid feeling homesick so much, that I skimmed the surface of my thoughts, thinking so logically, that, despite myself, I was making the simplest definition of the word “home” the only one?
Home isn’t a building. Home isn’t where you live, where you work, where you lay your head at night. Home is people, home is family and home is…ugh. I cringe at cliches, especially ones often found embroidered on pillows…but “home is where the heart is” sang in my mind at the very moment a veil was secured in my hair and cascaded over my shoulders. I looked in the mirror behind me, at my mother’s sparkling green eyes overflowing as she dabbed underneath. My own eyes filled…and I did not stop them.
I turned and embraced my mother, and I felt home. Together we cried the biggest, happiest tears there are.
For just a minute.