Last weekend was Homecoming, and along with high school football, Texas-sized mums, and dates for the dance, oldest son came home from college. (It has been seven weeks). On the second day of his visit, he burst through the front door, visibly distraught. He was so troubled it could only mean someone had run over his car or crashed into his basketball goal.
“The bush is gone!” he said. I resumed breathing. Then I proceeded gently, unaware before that moment he even knew we had bushes, to explain what had happened to the missing bush. I chose words carefully to tell him that the bush had been dead (for at least two years) and that his father had (finally) gotten rid of it, and that we would be installing a new bush in its place. “It looks terrible,” he said.
But then I knew how Max (in Maurice Sendak’s book) felt when he sailed back over a year and in and out of days and into the night of his very own room. In the whole wild rumpus of a world where wild things roar and gnash, Max expected his room to be where he left it–hot dinner included. And nothing should be different. Not even one dead bush. And that is my job.
The only thing different in the history of Homecoming is me. I am no longer coming home–I AM home. And Husband and I are in charge of BEING home: the place where you can set your watch by Friday night pizza delivery, sink into a sofa smelling of beloved dog, and get fussed at for caveman behavior. Home is where the snacks are. Home is the place to go where someone loves you best of all.
…(While they celebrated traditions, Husband and I went to a Hare Krishna restaurant, flirted with exotic food, and walked barefoot through a place of worship not-our-own. Don’t tell.)