Home is where the heart is….

“There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all”

In My Life – The Beatles

As I drove through the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul passing the places that reminded me of a comfortable feeling a long time ago when I called this home, a sense of nostalgia grew inside of me. Some of the places have remained, while others are victims to the recession. Memories raced back as I began to recall all of the life altering events that took place during my residence and all the friends that came and went, but more importantly the ones that stayed with me.

I soon arrived with dinner for Sonni, Mom and baby. Three generations together in one room. Pat didn’t hesitate to remind me that this was my second family and I need not wait so long to return. I feel as though she slipped that in more than once during the evening and the hug goodbye. I don’t know if I will see them before I fly home Saturday to see family number one. To add an exclamation point to this final visit to the home of Sonni and Sam, my framed poem for Tino was resting on the wall in the entrance to his room. My words to Tino will always be in sight and watching over him at night.

Maybe it has been the time away or the relaxing sense of seclusion I have in Charleston, but the depth of feelings that have reared during this trip seem intensified more than the last. I could dive into an analysis factoring in the birth of a child, old friends who have taken new steps in their lives and some that have remained in their current bubble. One thing remains clear, the ability to slip back into that comfort zone remains.

Tino was born into a wonderful circle of family and friends and no matter what course of life he chooses, he will always be surrounded by support. A few days prior to the birth, I went to the cemetery to see Janet Hegg, Sonni’s Grandmother who passed away in 1997. I found myself talking to her and telling her about the newest member of the family. It was somewhat comforting given that I never met her. It may be the single moment I once again realized I was part of this family.

In a few days, I will see my family. What a thought: I have the chance to spend a month with two different families. How many have the opportunity to say that.

Seven weeks is summed up in a computer bag and a gym bag. Some would find that alarming, but not me. It doesn’t matter what is in the bag, because it is never about the material value I carry with me each day. It is about the meals, the conversations, the hugs, the gifts, the quiet moments during a sunset and the laughter from shared memories that fills my bag up with each visit.

Home not only is where the heart is but where people let you inside their hearts. Thank you to my first and second families for reminding me how important these relationships are in my life.

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