Torts & Tots

Motherhood. Lawyer-dom. And maybe a few nice recipes.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig.

with 3 comments

When I packed up and headed to college, I didn’t realize that I was never truly going to be at home again.  Yes, there were short doses here and there, summers, holiday breaks.  But I was never at home in the same sense I had been before.  My childhood home became a rest stop in between other destinations, in between life transitions.  The child me would have found it unthinkable that my childhood home would ever become estranged from the rest of my life.  I use the word “estranged” because, no matter how often I visit, it is impossible to recreate what home used to be. 

When I say “home,” I refer not just to the physical structure I lived in, but the entire environment my family created that supported and sustained me, that continues to support and sustain me.  My house, my room, my grandparents’ house are really all just containers that hold my memories – the memories that as a whole represent an overwhelming happy and content childhood.

I just returned from a visit home – the only time I have been home by myself since I had AJS.  No kids, no husband, no dogs, no cat – just me.  Perhaps because I was there without distractions, the memories seemed so tangible, so accessible during this visit.  Perhaps it was because my granddad was cleaning out some of personal mementos.  Or perhaps it was my mom’s current battle with cancer that sent me into a reflective tailspin.  It seemed like around every corner I met myself at a different age.  You might think that the memories I met were significant moments, of which there are no shortage.  But no, it was all the small moments that kept washing over me.  Although truth be told, aren’t we all the sum of our small moments?  Aren’t those the moments that comprise our personal histories, define our relationships and fill up the chapters of our lives?

A handful of Grandad’s old pocket knives reminded me how my grandparents used to entertain me during church, of using those tiny pocket knife scissors to make shapes out of my church bulletin, of Zoomie teaching me how to fold Grandad’s handkerchief to look like babies in a cradle and then rocking it until it fell apart, and of passing notes to my Grandad containing our favorite inside jokes.  A  batch of Zoomie’s butter cookies took me immediately back to being a young girl at Bible study with my mom and grandmother, anxiously eyeing Zoomie’s paper-thin butter cookies until Zoomie would wordlessly hand me one, causing me to feel loved and understood simultaneously.  Thumbing through Zoomie’s collection of children’s puzzles made me think of the afternoons I spent at their house – really it was every afternoon – and how it was never boring.  How could it have been?  Zoomie and Grandad were the most entertaining, most lively people I knew.  They were the perfect playmates.  I think my granddad watched every episode of Saved By The Bell three times, played Spectar until he had callouses on his hands from the joystick and can probably to this day recite Bye Bye Birdie word-for-word.   And he did it all with constant laughter, the sound of which I can summon up at will. Some might be surprised to know (or not surprised at all) that my grandmother used to don a fake, high squeaky voice and play hairdresser with me, complete with a child-sized cash register.  At the time, no one was more fascinating.  And now, I realize they were teaching me how to be a complete person – how to enjoy my life – something I still very much possess.

Now as an adult, they are the perfect friends.  What a gift you have given me, Zoomie and Grandad.  How would I have ever learned to be me without knowing you?


Written by tortsandtots

October 4, 2012 at 9:38 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Darling Jamie thank you for your beautiful lyric words and marvelous overflowing memories always here. You will never really be gone or even very far away. Love you lots

    Sent from my iPad


    October 5, 2012 at 10:55 am

    • okay, I am fooling around at work looking at your blog when I shouldnt be and now I have huge tears dripping down my cheek and I am blowing my drippy nose. must buy water proof mascara…I too cut out church bulletins with those tiny scissors and know how to fold dad’s handkerchief into a cradle with babies. I too worked those puzzles, first by myself and then with my own kids. And I love those butter cookies. your blog sent the memory of the taste rocketing through me. what lovely special memories you have reminded me of. love, Carol


      October 8, 2012 at 11:04 am

      • All these memories made me surprisingly emotional. I can’t re-read the blog post because (a) I get choked up and (b) I become hungry for butter cookies.


        October 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm

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