A week at my parents’ home has been therapeutic, nostalgic, and refreshing, yet leaves me ready and eager to get on the road again. To anyone who has left home and returned, you know that the experience can be a unique blending of past and present. Old thought patterns, behaviors, and psychological scenery that you thought you had abandoned years ago all rise up from the depths. Much of it welcome, some of it uncomfortable, most of it surprising. I love my home. I love that I have a home and a family that I know I can retreat to in time of need: a place where I am welcomed, respected, supported, and accepted for who I am. I know that many people do not have this, and for this I am unspeakably grateful. I must say, with the intention of living outside of the Midwest for the first time in my life, I think that the distance from my family will be the most difficult thing to grapple with.
It is not that the days and nights at home are filled with adventure, drama, novelty at every turn. It is the routines of the day that are precious. It is coffee, crosswords, and conversation in the morning. It is the same walks around the same neighborhoods that I have been walking for years. Yet something about it is always new. I am not sure if it is my parents changing, or myself changing that causes our relationship to shift. I guess, in truth, it is both. I suppose this is what it means to become an adult and visit home. I am treated with a different sort of respect, seen through different eyes.
In the past week, I have enjoyed a couple of games of Catan, several Scrabble matches, prepared quite a few meals, wrestled with a tick who had taken residence on my leg, and taught my mother the delicate, fine, and ancient art of pour-over coffee, which she received with satisfying enthusiasm. Together (and with Molly, of course!) we went to the Art Institute of Chicago and saw the works of Pablo Picasso, followed by an excellent meal at Berghoff, a classic Chicago establishment (seen below). Molly and I took the El into the city, and had a delightful walk with our friend Jake Crowe before going to Wicker Park and perusing Myopic Book, a used bookstore that any literate person in Chicago should visit for at least an hour, if not an afternoon.
This morning, Molly and I accompanied my father to church, and Molly got the grand tour of my grade school, after which the three of us enjoyed the springtime weather by playing tennis in the park. Molly turned out to be as much bite as she was bark, defeating both myself and my dad. My dad came in a respectable second place. What about me, you ask? I must have gotten something in my eye…it was the wind, I swear!
Molly and I have filled in the cracks of this week by finishing up the 5th season of Mad Men, a show which we have been meandering through for the past year or so, and we are all looking forward to seeing the premiere of the 6th season tonight! I am not much of a TV watcher or TV advocate in general (I tend to think of screens in general as something to be avoided – writing this blog post has about drained me!), but I will confess to thinking that Mad Men is truly a fine piece of media. For those of you who have not watched it, I sincerely recommend giving it a chance.
Well, if you’ve stuck around this far, I will cease to bore you any further. Tomorrow we set our course for Iowa, where we will hopefully enjoy more nights out in our great Mother, as well as in the company of our good friends Dylan and Katie, currently residing in Decorah. Thanks for reading!