Homecoming

Tell us about what home meant to you this year.

Home is a moving target. It used to be simple, calling someplace home, because that always  meant the small, unassuming house in Michigan, with the extra-large kitchen and a multitude of siblings.

But home is other places too. Home is Grand Rapids, sharing a room with my cousin and watching NCIS while drinking frozen cokes.

Home is Maryland, in a schoolhouse with painted walls and a broken stovetop, sitting with a blanket, a roommate, and homemade cookies.

Home is also Virginia, in more houses than I deserve, where conversations stretch far into the night as we eat cake and make plans.

Anyone could tell you that home is never really about a location.  We move and we put down roots and then we move again. The blessing and the bittersweet is that we can have so many homes in our lives, an overabundance of spaces with people and memories attached.

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” – Miriam Adeney

Enjoying

What small pleasures did you discover this year? 

This question lends itself to listing, but I’d rather not. A list can’t do justice to that little park I found back in September, with the old tree and a perfect patch of grass – just right for cat naps  in the pause of another busy day, wind and sun caressing my back.

Nor can a list quite capture the small moments of understanding between friends. The flicker of the eyes and the imperceptible nods; silent conversations that carry across a room. The joy that here, at last, is someone who knows.

As simple as the pieces of chocolate that daily accompany my lunch, delightfully ordinary and happy, the beautiful hides somewhere between routine and repetition.To say that I discovered these pleasures would be lying. What a wonderful world it is that they found me instead.

Eating

Where did you spend your money this year?

Mashed potatoes with the mushroom gravy
Chinese takeout
Pizza
Beer
Largest pot of spaghetti
Soup (vegetarian)
Bread
Macaroni from a box
Wine. Bottles on bottles.
Cake

A general principle:
That food carries friends closer
A glass or three in good company
Can do more than many church services.

So I trade money for flour and butter
And barter sustenance for companionship
To fill their stomachs and my soul.

Starting

In an effort to force myself to write on more topics than just those that appeal to my own sense of melodrama, I’ve signed myself up for Project Reverb. So for better or worse, off we go. 

Where did you start 2014? 

A room full of people. It was a party, one of the first where I felt I belonged. Nothing extravagant, just a group united by food and drink and a desire to mark the passing of time together. There was pink moscato in plastic wine glasses over discussions of malbec. Lukewarm pizza that was still just right. The unexpected but familiar anticlimax of the ball dropping.

But mostly I remember snatches of conversations, like flipping through an old book and glimpsing the underlinings and highlights. There were promises and reminiscings. New starts with kindred spirits. The comforts of conversation with old friends, where even the unspoken things are heard. But the reason I remember, the reason the words are inked into the evening, is because those who said them are still in my life, and that has made all the difference.