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What is Home?

I am headed home today. And just the thought of leaving him behind, again, challenges my concept of home. I am going to a place where he will not be. And that doesn’t sit right with me, but I know, him living at home creates a home life that is filled with lies, yelling, trauma responses, upset, hurt, anger, disappointment, fear and some loathing. What kind of home is that? For anyone?

I do not want it to be this way. I really don’t. I do not want life to be like this anywhere but most especially in my home. I want peace, tranquility, quiet. I want a place to retreat from the world and find solace, comfort and love. I am not sure that is anyone’s home with teenagers....maybe somewhere, someday, but surely not all day, everyday.

I do not want a life that is free from conflict, that is not only unrealistic, but it would be boring. Conflict brings on a feeling of struggle and struggle brings resolution. It brings the opportunity to change and be changed. And that means evolution of body, mind and spirit and I am all for that.

So I leave him here, his new home. With people to whom he is not related, that do not love him the way that I do. That do not share the past: the good, the bad or the ugly. I am not abandoning him here, why does it feel like I am?

He is almost an adult in the eyes of the law, perhaps it is because my mother assessment of him is that he is light years away from being able to take care of himself...perhaps that is why I feel like I am shirking my motherly duties. Leaving him when he still needs a mother, despite all he says and does. It is clear to me that he needs parenting, now maybe more than ever. But it has also become clear to me, that he needs someone other than me or his father to do it. And I think, at least it is my belief, that he needs a man to hold him accountable.

Also to teach him about being a man. I mean what the hell do I know about that? I can’t even date a man successfully. I can’t relate. I have never been a man. I cannot possibly know what that even looks like, the jagged, rough and tumble path from boy to man. Of this, I know nothing at all really.

So I step out of the way, out of the path, stop being the barrier and obstacle of his progress from boy to man. I clear my home of one of its inhabitants so that he might find a life that is better than the one he created at home. I do this also so that we (his sister and I) can live in a place that is less conflict laden. A home that is more serene and peaceful. A life in a place that is not so full of hardship, lies and yelling. I do not know about her, but I need the peace desperately.

I cannot lie under siege with any kind of grace. I falter and break. I shatter and become something that I do not like, or even understand. I never wanted to be a warden. I never wanted to be a detective. Reviewing everything someone says to me to find the place where they give themselves away. I wouldn’t even have to be a very good detective, my son is a horrible liar. And by that I mean he sucks at lying and that he does it far too much. I do not want to install security cameras all around my home to see who is coming in the cover of darkness, and who is leaving. I do not want to live as law enforcement. It makes me feel crazy and out of control.

And from what I know from my own experience and that of others similarly situated, is that the more you do the crazy shit to try to exercise parental control, the more out of control it gets. The more the home, the place of familial love and support, becomes a battleground more like a prison yard than any kind of retreat or solace from the world at large.

So I leave him here. His new home has Orcas, and humpbacks. Days spent paddling a canoe from one glistening inlet to another. It has campfires, hammocks and rain. Likely a lot of rain. It has hard labor, to wear out his overly active mind. It has the knowledge that comes only from sleeping under the stars night after night and watching Orion watch over as you sleep.

I leave him behind to find his path again. Me seeming to be a bigger barrier to his life than an aide. I see that. I have rebelled against that with all my motherly might, but now surrender and allow and move out of the path of his march from boy to man. Praying, always praying the mother’s prayer: “God, please save him.”

I do not know what home is, except that I am finding that it might just be wherever I am at the moment. Perhaps home is not a building in which you reside, perhaps home is something more than that, more like the shell of a snail, a retreat, built in concept rather than in calciums, that you take with you where ever you go. It is the idea that one can, should one want to, retreat into yourself, to this concept of home, with all the beings present, if only in your mind. To see that home is really where your heart is, and that matters less as to geographic destination and more about intent. To love, to be loved, to care and be cared for. Perhaps this is what home means.

I am not sure, as I am still sorting things out. But this new concept of home feels supportive and nurturing and perhaps a little less sad than my thoughts of returning the the place I live without him.

My growing up years were never four, only, always three. And so it goes with my own created family. Me and them. The other two. And perhaps it matters less and less where we are all physically situated, and perhaps is more about the connection and love we share, and I know for sure that the love and connection is better shared with him in Alaska and my daughter and I in California. It isn’t how I would choose it, but it is how it is. And I can see as I look out over the channel here in Ketchikan that home is indeed a place. But for now, it is more tied to a feeling for me, than an actual place.

Home is where my loves exist and since that isn’t one place, home is going to have to become something new to me. I will let you know, when I figure that out. Until then, I am grateful for the home that resides in my chest, the love that emanates from there and the persons we are all growing up to be.

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