I ran away from home when I was in second grade. It was a dramatic action (I’m a Leo) because I wasn’t allowed to watch TV since I wouldn’t pick up my room (shocker how some things don’t change). Therefore, I declared that I was actually an adopted child descending from the Royal family in England (obviously, my name IS Elizabeth) and owed no allegiance to this home (yes, I knew what allegiance meant we had to say the “pledge” to it everyday at school and I was somewhat of a precocious child)
When I returned two hours later from the half mile I made it away from the acres of land that housed me for 18 years, Maria made the following statement (finger wagging, for not the first or last time in my childhood) “As long as you live in my house you do what I say, and until you are 18 you have to live in my house-- because I’m your mother; I am the only one who can take you out of this world and I don’t feel like serving jail time, so you’re just going to have to deal with the fact that I love you and I make the rules.”
Needless to say, precocious children tend to challenge statements now and then; by the time I actually turned 18 Maria and I made a pact with each other (out of love). She promised I’d never have to live at “home” again; I promised to take my permanent address with me wherever I lived (to save her from junk mail and bills). This has kept most mother adult-daughter battles at bay (minus a two week stint where we drank some crazy juice and agreed that it might be “fun” for me to come home for a bit. Untrue). Also It has increased our appreciation for each other [I tend to call her when washing a floor on my hands and knees to “thank” her for instilling in me that nothing cleans quite like Clorox. She calls me when she is doing her only load of laundry for the week, since she no longer has a sweaty gym rat who needs three towels for showers she takes twice a day; or who ruins pans by burning eggs (dear God, it smells awful); who leaves her shoes smack-dab in front of the doorway; has a trail of clothes on the stairs up to her room; or mows down the side of the garage instead of the lawn] Even if, from time to time, My Momma drives the crazy train, I am pretty sure I played a big part in
handing her the wheel.
Regardless…point-o-my-story: Since that fateful summer 6 years ago I have moved permanently to everywhere except someplace permanent. It’s the eve before another move and I currently have a cell phone with a mailing address listed on an ocean Island in the Pacific; a license and voters registration where “bless her heart” is served with your sweet tea; and a car registered to the adress of my current office because the insurance woman said ‘pick the place the car will be the most’.
In case you are a member of the USPS, CIA, Credit Bureau or the Wall Street Journal Subscription I never actually paid for, and can’t seem to locate me here is a list of all my declared permanent addresses (thus far):
1) August 2002 – May 2003: Haven Hall, Syracuse University
2) May 2003 – August 2003: Waialae Ave Honolulu, HI
3) August 2003 – May 2004 : Day Hall, Syracuse University
4) May 2004 – August 2004: Sadler Hall, Syracuse University
5) August 2004 – May 2005: 715 Euclid Ave, Syracuse NY
6) May 2005 – September 2005: 1000 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz, NY
7) September 2005 – May 2006: 530 Clarendon Ave, Syracuse, NY
8) May 2006 – July 2007: 517 West Academy St, Winston-Salem, NC
9) July 2007 – July 2008: 103 H king park Drive Liverpool, NY
10) July 2008--?.?.?: 1125 Westcott Street Syracuse NY 13090
Home is defined differently by many people; for me it’s more of a feeling you give to someone. No amount of brick and mortar and walls touching floor (or lack of, i.e. 715 Euclid) could replace the people that have been inside them. In fact, since moving out on my own I tend to find myself most “at home” (and fast asleep on couches) in the houses I am not paying any rent or allegiance to. The acres of land that I once ran away from still house all of my memories of tree climbing, apple pies, soccer cleats, ballet flats, mother-daughter battle/makeup’s and sibling cuddle sessions. It’s those experience that have made me the person who is okay with having nothing that’s her own, besides a couch that she is overly attached to. Point – open up your idea of home to include as many places and as many people as possible because each person brings with them their own piece of their “home” to share. Also, if you ever find me sleeping on your couch, a pile of my clothes on your floor; or dirty dishes in your sink from food you didn’t / wouldn’t eat it’s not just my permanent impermanence; it’s a little gesture to say “I love knowing you” - just keep me away from your lawn mower.