Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Can You Go Home Again?

Can you really ever go home again? Will it still feel like home?  My cousin, Annie, A.K.A. Peach Prenni recently blogged about her trip back to Kansas City, which was home to her for several years.  She is a Georgia grown girl who has come back home, just like me.  The very fact that we live two miles away from each other on Hog Mountain Rd., which is the name of the town that our ancestors lived in two hundred years ago, is a bonafied miracle, if you ask me.  Well, she had a beautiful life in Kansas City for several years, but the last couple of years there just plain sucked.  I'm using her words here.  

Friends, that is a great way to describe the last two years that we lived in our Chicago suburb home.  It sucked.  Big time.  At the risk of sounding crass, let's just say it blew.

So you can understand why my heart beats a little faster and my stomach churns at the thought of getting on a plane with my two kids and going back...home.   There was a time when just thinking about it actually incited me to hyperventilate.  After Hubby got a job that relocated us to Georgia, I experienced a strange kind of post traumatic stress disorder for the first couple of months.  Here I was all happy go lucky, looking for the house of our dreams,  living a stone's throw from my best friend, and I would be hit, out of the blue, with the overwhelming urge to curl up in the fetal position and cry.  My blood pressure sky rocketed and I began experiencing debilitating migraine headaches every week.  Wanna know my theory about that? I think that sometimes, your body waits until it feels "safe enough" to break down.  Once you're in the clear, all hell breaks loose!

Exactly one year later, my brain has settled right down and is feeling oh so cozy in my new surroundings. I feel...safe.  (Don't want to say that too loud!) My wonderful in-laws have been out to visit us at least two or three times.  We, however, made no plans to visit.  After their last trip down south, my mother-in-law cornered me as she was leaving, "Promise me right now, that you will bring those kids to me!"  


We were overdue.  Clearly.  Several phone calls ensued in which she begged me to pick a date (any date!) this summer.  Finally, on Mother's Day, I caved.  It became clear that Hubby would not be able to take any more time away from work due to summer and fall vacations, so I would be the one to go home with the kids.  After a great deal of hemming and hawing, the flight arrangements have been made.  My sweet mother-in-law finally just bought our tickets...how can I say no to such generosity?? 

The date is soon upon us...we are just a couple of weeks away!  And I have made a decision to not allow my anxiety about the past color my trip.  Because you don't throw the baby out with the bath water, right? Annie's blog inspired me to create a list in my head of all of the beautiful things I love about Chicago (you know how I love lists!)

1.) For starters, my husband's incredible family.  They are truly survivors who have been through SO MUCH and just keep on trucking.  They are far and away the most generous people I have ever encountered and they love my kids as much as I do.  I know that I do not deserve the unconditional love they have shown me, but I gladly accept it.  

2.) My short list of very special friends.  Jessie, who showed me what it means to be a teacher at my first "real" job. And who constantly offered to take off work so that she could entertain my kids when we were in a state of crisis.  Lisa, who did not bat an eyelash when things were just awful and kept me and my kids distracted with play dates two or three times a week.  Our neighbors Sharon and Jenny who were the best of friends and gave Savannah the chance to have her first "best friend".  Kristen, who invited me over too many times to count for a glass of wine, appetizers, and let me talk for hours on end.  And my college buddies Jeannie and Jen, who met me for a drink or a piece of pie just to cheer me up! When I think about these people I just want to weep with gratitude!  

3.) Finally, our church.  When we could not have been any sadder, a big ole' church plopped down just a block from our house, like manna from heaven.  After the first service I attended at Four Corners Community Church, I greeted the Senior Pastor on the way out the door by saying, "I feel like I was starving and I just got fed.  Thank you!" Though we weren't there for very long, the work that God is doing through people there left a lasting impression.  My family will always be grateful for our time there.  

When I contemplate all of this, I am truly excited to be coming home.  Because it was home for a time.  It was the place where I fell in love for the first time, married my husband, graduated from college, started my career, birthed my children, and bought our first home.  Don't you think all of those incredible milestones should outshine any bad times that we had there?  Here's hoping!  See you soon, sweet home Chicago. 



  1. Great blog Katie. Very well thought out, courageous, and insightful. Enjoy your wonderful family and friends when you go "home". Give Christina, Steve and Babbo a big hug from me.

    1. Thank you, Auntie! I don't feel very brave, but I AM excited to visit the place that was home for so long and more importantly, the great people that will always be a special part of my life!