I went down for a quick trip to see my parents last weekend.
I had been looking forward to the trip for weeks.
It was just for one night, but I squeezed as much as possible into those 24-hours.
I stopped by and helped one of [REDACTED] and my best couple friends move. (And by “move” I mean I played with their two-year-old while they did all the heavy lifting.)
I got dinner and drinks with my two best friends from childhood.
I took a long walk with my mom and our family dog.
I sat with my dad in his studio while he worked on a new light sculpture.
I filled my weekend with all of the things I have missed doing since the move.
[REDACTED] stayed home, partially because he had homework to catch up on, partially because we have three creatures who rely on us to take care of them, and partially because I think he knew that I needed these things all to myself for a bit.
When I got back from my visit, I felt the weight of missing home collect on my shoulders and pool down my back. It settled in the pit of my stomach.
Monday morning, I felt weighed down. Physically and emotionally.
It wasn’t just that I was tired (Saturday night I stayed up much later than I am used to in order to savor every last second I had with my besties).
Something about being the one who lives in a different city gave my best-friend dinner date a tinge of sadness. It was a feeling of being homesick for a place I was already in. It was hard to stay present with the knowledge that when I drove back to the new city and my new life I wouldn’t have these two women just a Lyft ride away.
When we parted ways, I gave them each an extra tight hug and demanded that they visit me after [REDACTED] and I move into our new house.
I feel too young to be a grown-up yet and too capable to be a child anymore. I keep thinking of Peter Pan and remembering my childhood fears around aging and leaving childhood behind. While I love being independent, I miss having a shorter list of to-dos and tasks to track all the time.
I felt the loss of childhood intensely on my visit home. Memories from childhood were around every corner, like Peter Pan’s shadow. I just couldn’t get the present to stick, to feel confident in my “now.”
|Me, playing Nibs (a lost boy) in a college production of “Peter Pan.” Photo taken by Rafi Letzer.|
Peter Pan never had to think about a five-year plan. He never had to ask himself where he wanted to be in three years, what he might want to do professionally, when he might want to have children. He didn’t have to worry about whether his professional dreams would be hindered by personal life circumstances, or if having a baby would disrupt his hopes for the future.
Visiting home was like a little bit like returning to Neverland.
Sleeping in my old bed, walking our old family dog, spending time with old friends—those are my mermaid lagoon and skull rock. They hold echoes of the past, memories from childhood, and revisiting those feels like stepping back into another world.
But unlike Peter, I am comforted by planning for the future, especially by big picture hopes and dreams.
Something that my parents and I have been doing since I was old enough to participate was to create lists of our hopes for any major life event (planning a family vacation, hosting a holiday meal, choosing where to go to college—they all count.)
We would sit in the living room and take turns saying one word to describe the experience we wanted to have. For example, before [REDACTED] and I got married, the four of us made a list that went something like this:
They can be any words, any tense, any language that describes the ideal version of that event.
Before buying a house, [REDACTED] and I made a list. It went:
When looking at homes, we didn’t reference the list. We sat down once, wrote it, and left it alone. Mid-way through the home-buying process (after we had made an offer and it was accepted), we went back and read over our list of hopefuls.
This house has everything. Some things we hadn’t even remembered being on the list are present in our new home.
I can start to visualize our next few years in this home, and having even that small glimpse into the potential future is an incredible comfort and reassurance that there will be joy that comes from this move.
I still miss all of the things we left behind, but this experience is proving to be a learning process. It has been a time of growing pains, but also bravery and delight.
Turns out, growing up is not so bad.
I think Peter Pan would be proud of my adventure.