I tried submitting this blog post to a few popular blogs that accept submissions, but it was rejected. It's so hard getting your stories rejected, but I thought perhaps that was God's way of telling me to share this on my own blog. So, here goes...
Almost every holiday weekend involves a family dinner in my hometown, hosted by my Grandparents. As we drive in my old neighborhood I travel down memory lane, growing more and more nostalgic with each street we pass. One time I even had my husband drive through all my old childhood streets, while I pointed out the four homes that I had lived in, all within a five-mile radius.
There is one particular home that drums up a sadness and nostalgia like no other. It is the home that I shared with my mother, her former fiancé, and my two former step-siblings. During the two-year period that I lived there I grew very close to my step-family, but there was an ugly ending to our time together. My mother and I left our home, but a piece of my heart remained with my step-brother and step-sister. It has been years since I have spoken with either of them.
This year at Thanksgiving, my husband and I drove from our new home, in a new town, towards my old neighborhood. When we reached a certain intersection, I told my husband to turn left instead of right. My husband, being the wonderful guy he is, turned left without questioning me. I continued to direct him, until we drove up to the home I once shared with my step-family. I felt positive I was about to do the right thing. I’d driven past this house many times before, but I was ready, finally, to do more than simply drive by.
I got out of the car and left my husband and our sleeping five-month-old in the car. I rang the doorbell, confidently. A woman I have never met answered the doorbell, which was exactly what I was expecting. I asked, “Is Bob, or Janine, or Sam home?” I was invited inside and soon I was embracing my step-sister. I felt a lump in my throat that I swallowed away, fearing that I would look too emotional or moved by this moment.
I waved my husband and our daughter inside. We spent some time catching up. I couldn’t help but slyly look around the house, a place that I once called my own home. The man who I once called Dad held my daughter in his arms. My daughter seemed content propped on this strange man's lap, a man who she might have called Grandfather.
When I was eight-years-old and I walked away from this divided and confused home, I felt relief. Strangely, fourteen years later, I felt relief when I was welcomed back into this home. I felt comforted; looking into the faces of the people I shared my life with for a short but significant period. Will I see them again, these people who I once cherished as my own family? I’m not sure, but I feel closure, having returned on good terms as an adult, with my husband and baby girl. I felt right, embracing my step-sister, and feeling her embrace me back with that same pent-up longing.
I know it was the right thing, to leave that home in 1998. But, in 2012, it was the right thing to return too.