never stops teaching.
Journaling for awareness. Growing for life.
There is a saying that goes, “Home is where your story begins.” That certainly seems true for me. I have great memories of my childhood, and I know they have shaped much of who I am today. I had my Chicago home, my family around me. And I had a world all my own that was comprised of fragments of places I’d read about or dreamed of going. At age eight my bedroom was equal parts pink flowered wallpaper and what I imagined it could be: the farmhouse room of Anne of Green Gables, the castle in The Princess Bride or my own Secret Garden. As I grew my dreams of home grew and changed many times over. Where I lived changed even more often. In the beginning of our marriage, Kevin and I moved nearly every year before finding the community that has been home to us for the last eight. We have yet to find the house that will hold us well into the future, and this year in particular “home” has become something of a question as we’ve again explored the possibility of moving. Our question took on a new life this summer as I allowed myself to revisit a place of dreams.
We spent our family vacation on Prince Edward Island, Canada – the birthplace of Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables; the homeland from which her novels sprung. This dazzling island with it rolling green hills, vast beaches, red roads, fisherman villages, outstanding lobster and tremendously genuine people, thrilled my family this summer. We spent a week living by the sea with nothing neighboring us but a charming farm that’s been active for nearly two centuries and rolling fields of wildflowers. We hiked, boated, swam; we explored the ocean, the forests, the bluffs, the lighthouses, the golf courses, and the ice cream. In this place, so very far from our house in Los Angeles, I seemed to come home some how. I was content to sit and watch the wind play with the fields outside our home, never missing palm trees or bright lights. I suppose with time I would have missed the action of my life, but it was a gift to be able to simplify everything down to natural beauty for a week, to chase the kids around and pretend we were great discoverers of a new world. It was like I was eight years old again and a large lawn was somehow a ticket to freedom. What is more, I was not alone in these feelings. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen Kevin more relaxed. Adeline was lit up like a firefly the whole trip, wanting to learn the name of every flower – explaining that the unidentified ones must have come from “mystery seeds.” Keegan drew maps of where we would venture next and brought me new treasures to stow daily, including one small turtle. “He’s a traveling turtle,” Keegan had explained, interested in how it lumbered along with its house on its back. As for Brennan… well, it was like we had just introduced him to the world. One evening when rain was rolling in, he insisted on standing out on the porch… as if coming inside would wake him from a good dream.
It’s interesting how a place can help us connect with just who we are.
One of our last days on the island we were visiting with a traveler at the White Sands Hotel when she asked Keegan where we are from. He tilted his head to one side thoughtfully and answered, “We’re from home.” I almost interrupted to give the woman a more specific answer, but she nodded at Keegan with a smile and said, “Yes; and you always will be.” There was something about his words and hers that put a little song in my heart.
Sometimes you have to travel a great distance to see your dreams, but once you do, you might find that the dream was already real before you even arrived. Like a small turtle inching his way forward, you carry what you long for inside of you, so when you reach that land of dreams you can see that somehow you have always been there. I don’t have a map of where life will lead, where we’ll live or venture next. But I am sure of one thing: home truly is where your story begins. It may start out simple and inspire you to dream. Like a mystery seed planted, it can be the place where possibility puts down roots. It is the catapult, the inspiration. And no matter where you go… it is yours and it always will be.