Mom posed an interesting question during their yard sale- with them moving, where would we consider home? They were moving out of the house we moved into when I was six and Erin was three. It was our home and with them moving into a condo in Dowingtown, outside of Philadelphia, what would Erin and I now consider home.
So I did what anyone would do in my position would do- I asked Kim.
Kim said that the two of us were creating our own home, just like Erin and Ed had and Mom and Dad were about to do at their new place.
This got me thinking that as we get older, that idea of home changes. It becomes less of a physical place and more of a place in your mind and in your heart. Home is not so much where you are in the world, but more who you are with in the world. So to answer my Mom’s question, after Thursday and after the movers are done packing everything up and Mom, Dad, Callie head south to Philadelphia, the place I would consider home is the place side by side with Kim. Home is the place where I can hug Mom and make fun of Dad in person. Home is wherever we all sit around a table, laughing and enjoying each other’s company.
Home can be anywhere, provided the people you love are there with you.
As for the yard sale- it started early, although not early enough for the professional scavengers who were waiting at the end of the driveway a half hour before we were scheduled to get the show rolling. I’d say they looked like vultures, but vultures don’t carry that much cash and don’t have any interest in a lawn mower that doesn’t work anymore. A few minutes after 8am, we opened the garage door and the joint was jumping. Mom was on fire and re-affirmed my belief that few people in the world run a yard sale better. She is at her best surrounded by a crowd and with rain forecasted throughout the day; she was surrounded by plenty in the garage. One woman tried on flip flops and another woman stood in the backyard, laying claim to the other lawn mower- the one that worked. An old man chomping on an un-lit cigar would have bought the garage if it had a price tag on it (instead he bought the broken lawn mower for 5 bucks) and his wife, a younger woman held onto our air pump tightly. Mom asked her if her older husband was her dad.
“That’s my husband,” she replied.
Mom was unfazed and asked if she wanted to buy this old shelf, good to put plants on. My Mom is amazing in a situation like that, one that could easily be construed as a socially paralyzing awkward situation doesn’t even make her blink or stutter. She’s a dynamo for a variety of reasons and that’s one of the best reasons.
By 10am, it seemed like all of the stuff people wanted had already been sold. Dad’s recliner, the exercise bike and fake Christmas tree remained, but that was about it. It became slightly uncomfortable when people kept coming, walking briskly up the driveway, making a quick lap around the garage, seeing nothing they liked and as they were leaving, either smiling politely or simply avoiding eye contact and walking just as briskly, yet disappointed back down the driveway.
11am came and Mom was ready to close up shop, but we implored her to hold off at least until noon. Callie basked in the sun out in the driveway and Dad, after getting the older lawn mower to start, figured he’d use it until the cigar chomper came back to get it. He did the front lawn, I did the back. Halfway through, it started to make me a little sad that it was the last time I’d mow the lawn. But I combated this with thinking happily that the next lawn I would mow would be Kim and I’s. Positive thinking baby!
We deemed the yard sale was a success and the three of us, along with Mom’s dear friend Pam Brown, celebrated with Italians from Amato’s. Dad’s recliner didn’t sell, but I talked Mom into keeping it. This made Callie very happy and she quickly hopped back up onto it after we brought it back into the living room. We even were able to sell the exercise bike. The Christmas tree is going to Ms. Lucy’s store. I guess it was just the wrong season to try and sell that- regardless of the condition.
Before heading back to Philadelphia, I found myself walking around the house and from room to room, just staring slightly blankly at each one. It was less a flood of memories that hit me and instead scenes that popped into my head. Each room had a memorable scene that broadcasted into my brain as if my stroll the house was a clip show on VH1. Thanksgiving dinners in the Dining Room, Christmas and the Red Sox winning the World Series in 2004 in the living room, learning how to shave in the downstairs bathroom, beers at the kitchen table after the drive up from Philadelphia with Dad, countless band rehearsals in the drum room, peeking down the stairs into the living room- doing reconnaissance work for General Erin on Christmas morning, coming home after nights out in high school and creeping into my parents’ room to kiss my Mom good night and inadvertently incriminating myself with the booze still on my breath and Mom’s surprise 60th birthday party out in the backyard. I had a slight knot in my stomach, but was determined to not let the moment get to me. Mom frequently used the phrase bitter sweet to describe their move to the Philly area and I decided to run with that. Nothing in life is 100% perfect and everything has a but or a comma in it. Yet I’m not going to focus on the bitter. I’m going to focus on the sweet.
The house was great and the memories greater. But I get to be closer to my parents again- what more could a son ask for.
Goodbye Regan Lane. Thanks for the memories, thanks for the laughs and thanks for the neighbors. We’ll hope to see you soon.