WARNING:Sentimental post ahead. Not that this should surprise you.
Yesterday I drove away from my chidlhood come in California. Unlike all of the other thousands of times I have pulled out of that driveway, I knew that this time was the last time I'd pull away from it as my house. And after thirty years of pulling away from this house as my house, it was quite a blow.
With my parents off on adventures of their own, which will ultimately lead them back to my part of the country, the last of my family connections to Northern CA are gone. I'm super excited that I'll get to have them closer, but the bitter next to the sweet is the fact that it also means cutting ties to my original community.
All weekend, on our farewell tour around town, my sister (who never cries) and I would tear up unexpectedly. We cried at things small--our favorite ice cream flavor (Chocolate Malted Crunch), the worlds best cream cheese (Walnut Raisin), and the hay and grain store we bought all the animals we'd then smuggle home(the latter mostly my sister's doing). We cried at things large--leaving the homes of people who have been more like family than friends.
We took pictures of everything.
**The view from my my driveway**
We tried to pretend that we'd have reasons to come back every six months like we'd been doing ever since college. But we all knew that with no remaining family there, it wasn't likely.
That's the double-edged sword of having roots. When you have to leave them behind, oh, does it hurt.
**Home is in the People. And in the view by the Bay.**
But I wouldn't trade it for anything. I wouldn't trade the idyllic main street, and the way this town made me feel safe. I wouldn't trade the roads I've driven so many times I know them bone deep. I wouldn't trade the hills whose rolling beauty speaks to me in a way most landscapes can't match. I wouldn't trade that there are so many people who have known me my entire life, and who I love like crazy. They are people who feel joy and sadness right along with me in the ups and downs of my life because they have been there for all of it. They can't wait to hear the updates and see my children and I love the closeness bred by decades of stability.
**Home is where the fog renders it cool (and windy!) in the summertime.**
I walked around my house and touched the places of so many memories: the doorstep of so many prom nights and late night talks. The basketball court of a thousand pick up games. The trampoline of a thousand sleepovers and choreography contests. The room where I stayed up doing algebra and talking to friends. The windows my sister taught me to climb out of when I was in timeout. The living room where we had wedding receptions and family reunions. The family room that housed Christmas magic and spontanoues theater productions over the years. The kitchen table of so many shared meals and conversations. The love the fairly radiates out of every corner of it.
Oh, it is magical.
I tossed and turned all night on Monday night. I think my body couldn't process that this was the last time I would sleep in my bed. But in the morning light, when I got up to catch our flight, I had three final thoughts as I walked away from a place that has helped to define me and provided a solid launching pad from where to go off into the world:
I hope the family buying this house knows exactly what kind of magic they are getting.
I hope I can give this kind of gift to my children.
The beauty of roots, I suppose, is that we never really leave them behind at all. They aren't cut off as if they never mattered. They find place deep inside of us, intertwined with the branches of our new journey. The substance of who we were, then, never too far separated from who we will become.