I am perched on a chair in my bedroom on which I think I have sat exactly four times in the three years we’ve owned it. I am surrounded by the violent scrrriiiiitching of packing tape as it wraps around boxes that contain 15 years worth of the stuff that makes this New York City two-bedroom apartment our home. And in less than 24 hours we will all be on a plane to California. For good.
And while we’ve been lucky enough to rent a lovely house in a lovely neighborhood in San Francisco… I know it won’t be Home. At least not for a long time.
I know this because Home is my doorman who greets me every day with a nickname that only he uses (“Hey! Mari!”) and greets my kids by name.
Home is the pigeons that congregate every day on the corner of Broadway and 80th Street outside the Verizon Store that used to be a bagel shop.
Home is a run on the Hudson River at sunset.
Home is our running encyclopedia of neighborhood play spaces. (Best swings: River Run; Best fountain: Ross Terrace at the Museum of Natural History; Best slide: Hippo Park)
Home is the girl at Starbuck’s saying, “I haven’t seen you in awhile.”
Home is our weird hallway that smells like bacon at midnight when you cooked it hours ago for breakfast.
Home is finding only hot water in the kitchen, and only cold water in the bathroom.
Home is subway trains, taxi cabs, and, “I just walked because it was faster.”
Home is the bar where I fell in love with my husband, the doctor’s office where I suffered the greatest loss I’ve ever known, and little gray bedroom where I was so happy I cried tears of joy every day for a month as I kissed my baby to sleep.
Home is New York City, which has been a third parent to me. New York City, which raised me up from an insecure, fairly dysfunctional young adult into a much more confident, slightly less dysfunctional, bonafide grown-up.
And now that its time to leave Home and make another, I’ve started thinking about how there are so many songs about Home, about longing for Home, about the things that make a home a Home. And there’s really only one lyric that comes close to describing the way I’ll feel when the wheels touch down tomorrow:
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far,
And Grace will lead me home.
When we land in California tomorrow, we certainly won’t be home. But we will surely be grateful for the Grace that has brought us this far, and eager to see where it leads us next.