Home is wherever I’m with you
Ah, home, let me go home
Home is wherever I’m with you”
This past week, we packed up our home at 627 Page Street in San Francisco to move into a new home in Nashville. Packing is hard – it is a systematic dismantling of the things that make a place feel like home. Every few days, one of our many plants left and found a new home with friends. Then, there was the removal of photos and memories off the walls, leaving them bare and full of holes. If you remove all of the things that made it home, is it still home?
As rugs came off the floor, I remember our first month in the apartment. We didn’t have a dining room table, so we spread a blanket on the floor and had dinner picnics. I remember one night in particular when we made Pad Thai and played the Lumineers and talked about our future.
As our bed was packed, I remember when we first adopted Jack and he was too small to jump onto the bed on his own. He would get out of his crate in the morning and come over to Andi’s side of the bed wanting to come up and snuggle. Every morning, he would also try to jump up himself – sprinting down the hallway, sliding on the wood floors in the living room before launching himself up and missing the jump by a foot. (He did make it once by leveraging a pile of pillows on the floor).
As the pots and pans got stacked into boxes, I remember the 100 times we set off the smoke alarms making dinners for friends. The baked eggs, caesar salads, couscous, salmon, soups, and cheese plates with all the wine and just a little fernet that were made in a too small kitchen. I remember the hundreds of times Andi would try dinner before it was ready – (It’s not done yet!) and all the little burns that were the battle scars of perfect nights in with friends.
As we emptied the cabinets in the bathroom, I remember walking in one night to Andi crying holding a pregnancy test and just holding her and reading a short story Jack wrote (that I made up) to welcome the new little one to the family.
As we emptied our closets, we took off wallpaper that turned a closet into a nursery and took down a bright pink and white mobile that I would spin every night as I put Lucy to sleep. We emptied the closets of a now too small raincoat for Jack and a dried wedding bouquet. And from the corner of the room, we removed a rocking chair where we both spent countless hours rocking and reading Lucy to sleep. The corner where Good Night Moon became goodnight room and we wished goodnight to each plant and puppy in our view.
And on that last day I came home from work to our home, Lucy was in the window with her puppy waiting and watching for me to come home. She was smiling and squealing and hitting her hands against the window as Andi held her and pointed to me biking up the block. Jack was right there next to her, sitting and watching and waiting. As the couch left, I couldn’t help but think of all the times I biked home from work to see Jack waiting for me in the window, then bounding down the steps to come and greet me. As our family grew and Lucy joined him there, so did my love of that moment of my day.
I was home.
Home wasn’t all our plants (although it was hard to say goodbye to all of them!) or our collection of matches from every restaurant we had been together. It also wasn’t our bed, couch, or any one thing we had accumulated in our 650 square foot apartment.
The song Home by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes played as we walked down the aisle right after we were married. In that moment, I don’t think I understood that our home would be this collection of moments — just like that one — surrounded by people we love. The physical place matters so much less when you are able to take all those moments and memories along.
Home is when we brought Lucy home from the hospital to meet Jack. Home is dancing in the living room with friends to Matt and Kim. Home is being covered in spit-up and knowing you are still loved. Home is sitting on the couch drinking wine and eating popcorn (obviously, Kirkland Signature Brand because it’s Jack’s favorite).
Home is Andi and Jack and Lucy.
And all of them are coming to our new physical home in Nashville (…and maybe a few plants). While I’ll miss our 627 Page Street apartment, I’m looking forward to creating new memories with the people (and puppy) that make home, home.