Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Home is Where the Heart Is

It occured to me today -- as it does every so often -- that I have lived in Atlanta for as long as I lived in the small Tennessee town where I grew up. It brought me to the question of where is home? I used to think of Nashville as my home, but I haven't lived there since I was 18. The longest period I lived in Tennessee since leaving for college was for one three-month semester break in 1989. When I went back there for my mother's funeral in 2001, I felt like the proverbial stranger in a strange land. All that was left for me there were memories, some good, some bad, but nothing tangible I could hold on to or ever think about going home to again.

Here, in Atlanta, I have a life that I built for myself and in conjunction with a wonderful partner. We have created our own traditions, and now that we have a child (and another to be here any time now), we continue to find ourselves creating new ones all the time.

I can't really think of any traditions my family established when I was a child. Isn't that weird? And sad?

But the things we're doing, the rituals we're claiming as our own are so special and exciting to me that they more than make up for anything I was lacking. And really, they're little things that I never even thought of as becoming traditions.... Going to the same Christmas tree lot where kids from our neighborhood work and picking out our tree each year; going to Rich's (Macy's) Lenox Mall and riding the Pink Pig before Christmas; spending every Christmas Eve with our family, going to Mass, then coming home to stay up all night putting presents together and out under the tree.

They're small things. But things that I hope will help create a foundation of love and meaning in our children's lives, and in our own.

I look forward to learning what new traditions we'll create. What our boys will come up with on their own as the years pass. Which they will embrace and which will fade out over time.

Home is where the heart is. My heart is here, in Atlanta, Georgia, with Scott, Brendan, and Beckett, where it was always meant to be.

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