Saturday, December 12, 2009

Home is Where the Heart Is

Maybe it's because it's the holiday season, or maybe it's because baby it's cold outside, but I've been giving a lot of thought to "home". Many people have inspired this. My aunt, after living 4 1/2 years in her paradise of Florida is returning "home" to Michigan. There are many factors to this, one being that love of her life passed away last January. I posted about this tragedy at the time. Paradise just doesn't seem so much like paradise anymore. After wanting to live there for so long, she is coming back. She has five grandchildren in the Detroit area and my two sons, who are really her grand nephews are sort of her adopted Grandsons. When I told my boys she was moving back to the Detroit area, they cheered aloud at the table. They weren't sad we wouldn't be visiting her in paradise, but thrilled to have her a quick drive away.

Many of us Michiganders walk around, especially about mid February, mumbling about why the hell we live here. It's freezing, it's slippery, it's dark at 5:00 pm. Your tired of being cold and miserable. But Michigan is sort of an ignored state. It is beautiful. The spring summer and fall could not be better. We are surrounded by the Great Lakes. Fresh water that looks like the ocean when standing on the beach. You can be at any place in Michigan and not be more than 86 miles from a Great Lake. They are magical but when you've lived here they can be taken for granted. We enjoy our lovely weather because we earn it darn it! I even hear that some people enjoy the winter?? I am not one of them, but if you snowmobile, ski or even go sledding, I'm sure these winter months have many joys that go along with them. I've never lived anywhere but here. I have lived in Grand Rapids (west side) Lansing (center) and Metro Detroit (east). They all have their pros and cons. But one thing that is a constant is we have family here. Not a lot of family, but we have it here and this is where our families roots are.

Until we moved into our current house my husband and I moved every three years. As soon as we would get the house close to what we liked we'd pack up and move again. I have owned three houses in East Lansing alone. I can't give any great reason for this, we just never felt like we were where we should be and I guess and we always found something we liked better. I wanted to move into this neighborhood before we bought the previous house but couldn't find one. One day on a whim, on the way to the pool, we went through this house. It had the extra bedroom we needed, a master bath and an awesome basement for all the kid stuff. We were sold. What I didn't know that I would get with this house is the most amazing support, friendship and love. This neighborhood has become my family in East Lansing. There is always someone to cover for you at the bus stop, to borrow something from while in the middle of a recipe, to go play with at the park, or take a walk and chat. We have parties, we socialize, we support each other. I have felt more at home here than anywhere ever.

When I allowed myself to let Daniel walk home from the bus stop (which they walk over a 45 mile an hour street on a pedestrian overpass and walk several blocks) with his peers I was so nervous. It's gone very well and I have people who aren't even in my circle say when they see me, "I see Daniel walking with the kids, he looks so happy." There are always people watching. That is nice to know.

Last week a neighbor had some people over to make gingerbread houses. She hasn't been here as long as we have. Three years now. She baked all the gingerbread herself and built the houses so we could decorate them. She had maybe 15 people doing this. It was amazing. The day after she posted on facebook that she felt it took 3 years to feel settled and comfortable somewhere and having her "new" friends over and watching us make our houses she felt "home" for the first time. I can't tell you how much that warmed my heart. The next day I watched Daniel staring at the house I decorated. He could stare at it forever. He loves the details. He was pretending to knock on the door and saying, "I can't go in there?" I told him he couldn't fit. He then said he could "pretend to be inside" (he wanted to 'pretend'? Wow.) It just looks like such a nice place to be, inside a gingerbread house....It's nice to look at that little house and the smell of the gingerbread fills the kitchen. Who knew that a little gingerbread house could represent the coziness, the friendship and the love of home itself. Happy Holidays. I hope you feel as at home as we do. I can't imagine being anywhere else.


Alyse Sandborn said...

Michelle, That was a beautiful post -and makes me miss everyone even more.

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

What a lovely little house you decorated! I can completely understand why Daniel's entranced by it.