From My First Breath*

“So, does Sacramento feel like home?” T-Wizzle asked me. It was the third time she’d asked me that question in the last three months. And for the third time I couldn’t give her a clear answer.

For many years I haven’t felt a sense of home in the way that others do. I will remain longer than I should in apartments and townhouses that do not meet my needs, but I also avoid making investments in furniture until absolutely necessary. I have never hung drapes or curtains, and I have never done major remodeling. I bought a house with Mr. X but we never got around to decorating it. We didn’t build knee walls or repaint bathrooms in an attempt to make the house truly ours; we never quite made that house our home.

But I have also designed and planted a garden, much to the surprise of others – and myself, to be honest. More recently, I installed a new shower head in my apartment and, when I discovered how easy it actually was, I cursed my narrow-mindedness for not installing one in the last place I lived. I have hung pictures around the apartment and installed shelving in my kitchen to accommodate my pots and pans. Between these tasks and getting involved in the community, I do have more of a sense of home than I ever had when I was living in Southern California. In many ways my new town reminds me a lot of where I grew up on the East Coast. But it’s still not quite home.

Because while decorating a kitchen and installing shower heads can mean one considers a place to be home, I don’t believe that material goods create that feeling of home, that sense of this is where I belong. That feeling comes from something much deeper. Home is that elusive smell in the air in the town where you were born. It’s recognizing the once-vacant lot where you once played ball with your friends. It’s holding on to the belief that the world you knew at the age of five is the biggest, widest, most fabulous world that ever was, or ever will be.

Last night I was with Pops, Aunt Gigi and Uncle Roy as they found their childhood home. I listened quietly as they recounted stories from their early years: stories of dollhouses and comic books, neighborhood friends and schoolhouse bullies. I saw Roy beaming with bliss at the discovery that theĀ  built-in milkbox he remembered playing with as a toddler was, indeed, exactly where he remembered it was.

And even though I never lived in that neighborhood or spent time in that house as a child, in that moment, I felt home, too.

This post was inspired by Kirsten’s entry for the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival, hosted by Peter Pollock.

*The title of this post comes from a line in a Depeche Mode song, “Home.”

Saturday’s Shout-Out: Beloved Bloggers

Often I read or hear about something so fabulous I have to call others’ attention to it. It might be a blog, product, company or charity – the point is to give them some recognition. Since there are so many things that fit this description, I figured why not do this on a semi-regular basis on the blog? Enter the Saturday’s Shout-Out feature.

The inaugural edition focuses on a blogger I truly adore and admire. I’ve known Kirsten since I had the distinct pleasure of spending an awesome summer vacation with her & her family right before my senior year of high school. She and her tow-headed brothers all seemed so much cooler than I could ever hope to be. From their clothes to their catchphrases to their tastes in music, I was completely starstruck. I felt very privileged to be able to say to my classmates that I’d vacationed with them.

Even though our families have been friends for three generations, I didn’t really know Kirsten that well. She started high school right when I was leaving. But when I found her on Facebook and started reading her blog, I got to know her much better. And I became starstruck all over again, because her writing is a thing of beauty. She writes so eloquently about everything and anything; whether she is discussing her kidsadventures or her own adventures in Trader Joe’s, or writing about grace, the state of being empty, and connection, Kirsten brings her A-game.

I was able to get face-time with her back in December, when I went home to be with Pops for the holidays. We chatted over coffee at the local Starbucks about writing, family, life changes, music, and other topics. I don’t remember all of it, to be honest. I was focused on enjoying her company, because she is just that cool.

That's me on the left, basking in the fabulousness of Kirsten.

So enough of my carrying on about Kirsten’s blog. Go read it for yourself. Subscribe to her feed. And feel free to become starstruck, just like me. You will be so glad you did.