Saturday, October 14, 2017

"Unnna go home"...Madeline's plea

A home flooded, a family displaced, one of thousands along the Texas coast.
Three little blond girls and a baby brother, my daughter & son-in-law left without a home. 

Home is more than four walls and stuff in the closets. If there is love and kindness within those walls, it is our most longed for destination. Trips away are enjoyable, exciting and often planned months in advance and yet people usually declare "I am ready to go home!" 

Home is a comfy couch with our favorite cuddle buddies and a good movie. It is family gathered around the table for Grandma's best casserole. Home is where our best and worst selves reside in a great laboratory of human relationships. It is where we love and fight, forgive and hold a grudge, exhibit extraordinary patience and unbelievable selfishness. Home is full of great joy and overwhelming sadness. Home is usually a feeling of safety & familiar comfort, a place to hide when the world is cruel. 

Home is our people, our culture, our identity. 

In this experience of being flooded by Harvey, rescued by boat, housed by sweet family friends, working hours of monumental clean up & a great migration of belongings...THE most difficult thing for me to bear was two year old Madeline asking to go home. Her blue eyes would look deeply into mine and plead over and over again "Unnna go home." 

How my heart would break into a million tiny pieces every single time. Home to Madeline was just down the driveway behind my house where she would often be found naked & playing with her sisters, having escaped while mommy fed baby brother...haha! 

Home was a pink cozy coupe on the long driveway, Grammie's snack jar, daddy's shoulder rides, & mommy's stories. Home was riding the tractor with Grandad & swimming in our pool. 

Home was both her house and my house, as best described by a phone call I received early one morning from Travis just 3 days before the hurricane.

"Grammie, are you aiding and abetting a known fugitive?"  
I looked at Madeline perched in my rocker with chocolate Teddy Grahams, watching Peppa Pig and said "Yes, I guess I am!" 

These little blond girls had lived for four blissful years roaming between two houses on a three acre plot of land we all called home. It was an ideallic time...almost heaven. 

But it's over now, Harvey saw to that. 
And what of home? 

The three blond sisters, baby brother and parents have a new home...Nellie's Cottage. 

I have been working with Madeline "Do you have a new home" Home is the cottage!" to which she would give a resounding & grumpy two year old NO! Every day for weeks the it has been the same answer. Yesterday I tried again for the 67th time..."Madeline, you have a new home, the cottage is home!" Those bright blue eyes stared into mine, I braced myself for the NO! She sat silently, staring into my soul as if she had decided to accept the cottage as home. No reply came, but as she ran away to play I was relieved to see a re-kindling of her feisty little spirit. 

Even though the cottage isn't yet as familiar as her first home... the pink cozy coupe can be found on the sidewalk, 
the playhouse survived the flood...

AND daddy bought an epic new swing! 

The cottage is now where daddy gives shoulder rides, mommy reads stories, & Grandad gives tractor rides as he works on the property. And Grammie? Well, I pop by the cottage pretty much every day for hugs and kisses from little ones that mean home to me.

Home isn't a place, it's a feeling. 
And today, Madeline is finally finding what she has wanted all along....home.

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