Going Home…at 40


It’s a funny thing coming home. 

Nothing changes. 

Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. 

You realize what’s changed is you. 

~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

I read this and thought about our extended stay at home in Chicago. Then I thought about what it will be like at the end of all this when we go back to California. Going to the home I was raised in, did something to me. And returning to the home we’ve built, feels like it will too. Both seem they should be comforting…and yet, for me, some fear showed up.

It’s wasn’t easy to call up my parents and see how they’d feel about their 40-year-old and her family coming for a couple months…knowing it would throw off routines, the empty nest, and most importantly…the quiet. I did it because I believe it takes a village, and I love the village I am fortunate to have in Chicago. Selfishly, I knew our kids would grow from being around my parents, sisters and our extended village, including their cousins for more than “just a visit.” . 

The place that raised me.

A comfort zone.

I did some things right.

And I royally screwed up often.

Pushed limits, colored outside the lines. We figure out who we are at home…or who we hope to become. I am not a creature of habit or a homebody, so leaving always felt like an adventure and finding new zip codes has come naturally, for lack of a better word. 

How did it go?

It was awesome.

Mixed with some hard.

Could not be more grateful for the time. Being able to settle in and be there again made every day, every tradition, every “you still do that, huh?!” somehow more enjoyable. Instead of questioning things the way I once did, I saw everything like it was new.

Which was hard to do when I kept finding old pieces of myself. Not to mention old journals in my old bedroom…what a trip! Old pictures in my closet…who let me wear that? Fell into old roles …. family dynamics die hard.

I knew where I was at all times, it’s nice to never feel lost. Frequented some old places, they smell the same. And best of all, got to reconnect with some old faces. That alone, could have kept me “home” for another 6 months. 

Smiled bigger and laughed harder. Was good to go home. Going back to my old zip code meant we put our needs second. Shared responsibilities. I’d like to think everyone ate healthier because I was around to cook soups and some of our favorite healthy living dishes. We even had weekly family meetings, a weekly highlight for the 4 of us adults and always comical. 

Watching my mom read the kids books. My dad showing them how to strum on his guitar. Putting up the Christmas tree together and getting to sit in front of it on Christmas morning. There are new journal entries waiting to be written about this long, lovely stay at home.

The biggest change for me in going home at this stage in my life was the perspective that came with it. Since I left home I’ve grown to appreciate how I grew up …in a way I never could when I lived there. I also know that we will never have time like that again.

It is precious and rare. The only way to fully enjoy it is to just be.

I feel like I did that.

I am as sad that it is ending as I am grateful that it happened.

Thank you.

~Us 5 with love

Jonathan Gordon