I still think about one month ago. For the first time, my youngest got to meet my family for a weekend, only to turn around and come back to Georgia once again. A wedding was the excuse for Matt to drive an insane amount of miles in such a short time, but I would ask him to do it again; for during that brief stay, my heart never felt more at home.
When we crossed over the state line into New Jersey, I shared the same excitement as my kids in the back of the van, and not merely because the 15 hour ride was coming to an end. I was coming home. And from the first hugs and kisses, I felt like we had never left.
We celebrated the union of my cousin to his new wife, and Caleb found a hero in T.J. It’s not uncommon now for the kids to put on their dress-up clothes and pretend they’re T.J. and Sara, marrying once again.
And we laughed. I don’t laugh with anyone like I laugh with my family, and it’s refreshing to sit in the company of those who can let go and truly enjoy each other. I tend to sit more quietly than the rest–I’ve never been as extroverted as the bunch (although, even I have opened up more in recent years)–but hearing the jokes and the loud laughs while the smell of sauce and my uncle’s pizza travel from the kitchen to the table filled spaces in me that I didn’t realize were empty. After a night around his table, I was full.
Someone once said, “Home is where the heart is.” I hesitate to write something so cliche, but sometimes the cliches are too true to dismiss. I’ve always had a horrible memory, but as we drove through my old neighborhood, I immediately recognized the pond that froze over in the winter and the time my baby sister got pegged with snowballs from big kids on the other side. I knew exactly how to get to the playground, the playground where I watched planes wondering if my dad was in one of them (he told me he saw me from the sky. I was wearing a red jacket). I saw the old diner where I learned how to sound out ‘ham-bur-ger,’ and I remembered the coin shop where my dad worked, and the upstairs window from where we all watched the parade below.
And our old house. My first memories were formed here. Running around in the back yard. The cookout where I waited next to the volleyball net patiently for a turn to throw the ball. Making birthday cakes for my dad every week with my ‘Easy Bake’ oven. Learning how to color in the lines. Sharing a room with my sister. Jumping off the radiator while singing “Wake me up, before you go-go!” with my mom. All these memories from when I was four and five resurfaced as we stopped in front of our little dollhouse.
I have many homes now. Home is with the people who hold my heart. Home is with the town that holds my memories. Home is the place that I can leave only to come back and find myself once again.
I don’t want to move back to New Jersey. My life is with my husband and children in Georgia. We have our church, our friends–we have planted roots at our own home. Yet the wife and mother that they love, part of her is because of all of them.
Where is home for you?
13 thoughts on “Home”
I feel SO blessed to be part of your amazing family, and I truly hope that we can all see each other again soon. Your kids are three of the sweetest I have ever met, and I hope you know it has everything to do with their wonderful parents!
I'm laughing imagining the kids re-creating our wedding. I hope Caleb laughs during the vows every time 🙂
Sara, I have to apologize that I have NO pictures of you with a clear shot of your face! How did that happen?!We loved being part of your special day, and I'm glad you're a part of our family!
Jenny, I have to say this is my favorite post of yours! Not ONLY because my name was dropped but because I can tell you put a lot passion into writing this. Your thoughts and memories really come alive through your writing. It's so great that your kids had such an excellent time at our wedding! Our wedding was the best day of my life for so many reasons and having you and the rest of the Georgia Vignolas there was the icing on an already perfect cake. Your children were all so well-behaved and so beautiful. Sara and I could not be more honored and we probably couldn't say any more nice things about our flower girls and ring bearers if we tried! We cannot thank you and your family enough. Seriously. We miss you so much and cannot wait to see you again!
TJ, we had a great time at your wedding and truly hope we'll see each other again much sooner. This post was on my mind since I left your wedding–I kept mulling over the ideas in my mind and finally sat down to write. The only detail I left out because it didn't really flow with the rest of the post was about how I enjoyed my mom's side of the family, too. I love hearing stories about my family–I want my relatives to stay alive in my mind, even if they have already passed on.Thanks for your comment!
Anytime that the Georgia clan comes up, it's like you've never left. It's like we haven't been apart and we pick up from where we left off. We have some of the BEST memories together. It was so amazing to spend time with you and meet your kids, even if just for one weekend. One of my favorite moments that melted my heart was when little miss Chloe came up to me and asked if we were going to play. I became fast friends with your girls! I hope we can see each other soon. This post makes me miss you guys even more now!
I know–Chloe definitely has the ability to melt some hearts! I say often that God made my kids so cute so that I wouldn't kill them. ;)I am definitely homesick for my family but am so grateful for the wedding weekend. I hope we will see each other more often, especially when all of you guys start having babies!
I AM SO HOMESICK FOR NJ NOW!!!!! I MISS MY FAMILY AND WANT TO GO HOME!!!!! I'M LIKE A BIG, FAT, BABY SITTING HERE ON THIS COMPUTER WITH TEARS ROLLING DOWN MY CHUBBY CHEEKS! I WANT JOHN'S PIZZA AND I WANT TO LAUGH LIKE NEVER BEFORE AND I WANT TO PLAY WITH MY SISTER IN LAW. AND, I WANT TO DANCE AND HAVE CHRISTMAS EVE LIKE WE USED TO.
ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME, ALL OF YOU IN NJ? IT IS TIME TO LOAD UP THE WAGONS AND HEAD SOUTH. 🙂
What a beautiful post and it was so lovely to meet my Georgia cousins and their little ones. Very precious.
I was so glad to meet all of my cousins, too! Thank you for the nice comment, Marie!
i love this! i am lucky to live at home. well, in the same area i grew up. so glad you got some time with your family….
Thank you, Kendal! I am lucky in that all of my husband's family lives around here. The kids at least know their great-aunts and uncles on that side.
Good post Jennifer. I know it came from your heart. I'm lucky, I would get to Jersey more often because of business, etc and see my best friend, my brother John. I would see your Aunt
Anne and the kids, especially watching the twins grow up. As I get olderr I miss Jersey more, not the state but our family. And you are right, we laugh more and really have a good time and where can you get better piza and mussels than at Uncle Johnny's? And now I know why I'm so darn old….. You made birthday cakes for me every week. You can stop right now.
You can't get better pizza anywhere!Thanks, Dad–I'm ready to stop baking. 🙂