Next week I’m stepping away from all that is my world and returning to my childhood home: the farm I grew up on in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. The farm-house where I lived from birth till 19. The yard where I played and coulees where all our adventures were carried out. Mom’s still there, my brother and his wife are just across the way and sissy is up the hill. Cows, farm dogs, wind, a wide open sky and conversations that meander in and out and go on forever.
A family wedding is the cause for celebration and I’ll be Mom’s date! She with her Oxygen and a twinkle in her eye. I teased her that we’ll “Thelma & Louise-it,” without the driving off the cliff part. She snorted. But when I told her that if we see Brad Pitt hitch-hiking I’m pulling over, she laughed out loud. God, I love her.
To say things there are familiar would be an understatement. The truth is, time has a way of standing still in your childhood home. And it’s comforting to know that some things still remain.
The kitchen radio, on from sun up to sundown, with farm reports and cattle prices, corny jokes and auction announcements.
The bedspread from the Sears catalogue, the same one that’s been on my bed since I was in college. Cheery and clean, waiting for me.
Mixing bowls nestled where they’ve always been, tin foil in the 2nd drawer, and a toaster you have to jiggle the cord for. A big can of coffee sits on the floor near the fridge, just under that east window. Ivory soap in the dish by the sink, the same one where Dad stood as he cleaned up at night. I swear I can still see him standing there sometimes.
Books in bookshelves, pictures on walls, throw pillows arranged just so.
And at night?
Quiet. Dark. No streetlights, no cars rushing by, nothing. Just quiet.
Big deep skies with stars that go on forever and, if I’m lucky, the Northern lights will visit me, too.
In the morning, I’ll be up with the birds and outside as daylight arrives. I’ll visit the cows and play with the kitties, feel the wind blowing, and the farm dog will tag along with me. My soul will sing and my smiles will not be contained.
I know things have changed, she’s had some setbacks, but her spirit is as strong as ever. She’s loyal as ever to her Riders football team, debates the news, and is a voracious reader. Talking about my visit and our plans, she said with such longing, “It’s going to go by so fast.”
That’s why I already feel the pinch because to stop everything and spend eight days together, every day, every meal, every night, and roll in those moments when it’s just the two of us, let me tell you what: I love it. I love that we get to laugh and talk and tell stories and secrets and be girlfriends for a while. Yes I’ll get out of her hair and take a walk and stretch my legs and when I come back in there she’ll be .. waiting for me. Bright eyed. Ready to pick up right where we left off.
And I’ll thank God for the opportunity to love the life I have but still be so very lucky that I can touch wood, kiss her face and feel whole again.
“The desire to go home that is a desire to be whole, to know where you are, to be the point of intersection of all the lines drawn through all the stars, to be the constellation-maker and the center of the world, that center called love. To awaken from sleep, to rest from awakening, to tame the animal, to let the soul go wild, to shelter in darkness and blaze with light, to cease to speak and be perfectly understood.” ― Rebecca Solnit
Can you go back to your childhood home? What’s the experience like for you? Have you ever spent an entire week just hanging out with one of your parents? If not, I recommend it ~ you might be amazed what you’ll learn!