Parents

10 Things That Happen When You Go Home Again

There are things we only do or feel or get away with at home, aren't there?

Here's my list.

1. You revert to your birth-order behavior

I'm a bossy firstborn. In my everyday life it makes me an efficient go-getter.

At my childhood home? I seem to forget all the social niceties I've learned in adulthood, and I just drive my sisters insane.

2. Your childhood eating habits come right back

Where I live now in California we have green smoothies for lunch several days out of the week. At my childhood home in Wisconsin I had macaroni and cheese eight times in ten days. The other two I had pumpkin pie. Carrrrrrrrrrrrbs.

3. You remember things you didn't know you'd forgotten

My dad and I cracked ourselves up remembering a former hockey coach of mine who used to explain drills while skating them. He meant well, but my teammates and I couldn't understand a word because half the time he was on the other side of the ice arena and the other half he was facing away from us.

"Got it?" he'd yell. "Go!" Then we'd all skate off in disarray and he'd start yelling about how we never listened.

Hadn't thought about that in probably twenty years, but sitting in my parents' living room it all came back.

4. You're strangely nostalgic for random objects

At my adult home I don't well up with tears up over dinner plates. At my childhood home? They still have the farm plate with the red barn and the horses I ate on as a kid and I'm sure it's chock-full of BPA but OF COURSE my son can eat off of it. Don't ever throw it away, k?

5. The rest of the world seems blissfully far away

We talk politics a bit, goals for the coming year, hopes and dreams and all of that.

But when the backyard trail looks exactly like it did when I walked it as an eight-year-old, it's easy to feel like all the pressures of everyday life are a bajillion miles away.

6. You spend at least one full day in pajamas

In my defense, I did put snow pants over them to go sledding.

7. The best conversations are unplanned

We lost power one night, and ended up lounging in front of the fireplace eating pasta my sister made in water she melted out of snow. We put the kids to bed ("It's like camping!" we promised), and lit candles. In the dark, draped on various pieces of furniture, we talked for hours.

Around 11pm the lights came back on and the spell was broken. But the time was so sweet my brother-in-law vowed to flip the breaker switch next year himself.

8. You have at least one moment when you feel like reminding everyone that you are, in fact, an adult now

Oh, for the love, I know what compound interest is.

9. You realize how much you love your current life

Sometimes we all need a little respite, to come back with fresh energy to a life we love.

10. You realize how grateful you are for your childhood home, the start that it gave you, and all the people in it

Back home I ran into people who had changed my diapers in our church nursery, who had reminded me in junior high that life wouldn’t end if I didn’t make the soccer team, who had mentored me in high school.

I was an awkward, bookish, theater-nerd surrounded by salt-of-the-earth folks who invested time and energy in me for no other reason than they noticed and cared.

Those things matter, you guys. Those people are rock stars.

It takes a village, and I had one of the very best.

Did you go home for the holidays? What did it teach you?

Courtney Ellis speaks and writes on motherhood, family, faith, and friendship. She’s a fast reader, a slow runner, a Presbyterian pastor, and a Swedish fish enthusiast. Find her at www.courtneybellis.com or follow her on Facebook.