Growing up, giving directions to my house was always interesting. It went something like this…”Drive past the Natural Steps sign and Moreland’s Grocery Store, go around a sharp curve, over a hill, then you’ll see a straight stretch of road. Right at the end of the straight stretch, turn left onto Mahar Road.” Mahar is my mom’s maiden name, hence the name of the road.
My husband likes to tell people that I grew up in a commune, but that is not the case. The quarter of a mile road, lined with trees on both sides, dead ends into a wide-open valley. My grandparent’s house was in the center, surrounded by several homes belonging to my aunts, uncles, and my parents. Huge oaks, towering pines, and grassy fields provided plenty of room for kids to run and play.
That’s where I spent my childhood-riding bikes, digging in the dirt, playing kickball and basketball with my cousins. And since my mom had six sisters and two brothers, there were always cousins around. They say I made them listen to me practice piano and violin…well, maybe a few times. But most of the time, we were outside. Distinct memories include singing at the top of my lungs while riding bicycles, trying to fool my uncle with mud pies, and playing “King of the Mountain” on Grandma’s front porch.
Almost thirty-three years have passed since I lived on Mahar Road. Even while typing I think surely that can’t be correct! Oh, but it is…despite the years gone by and having a family of my own, I still refer to this special place as home. I’m thankful to have grown up there-carefree, no worries about safety, room to let our imaginations run wild.
Of course, things have changed since I was a child. My grandparents are no longer living, cousins are all grown and many, just like me, have moved away. That doesn’t matter. Simply driving the route that leads to home causes any anxiety to melt away. My brain slows down, my body relaxes, and while there I truly rest. Sometimes I even feel like a kid again.
Thinking about my childhood reminds me that home is so much more than a house. It’s the people, the places, the memories. And sometimes…you just need to go home.