“I need a ride home
To that little town where I’ll always be sixteen years old
… Mom and Daddy sitting on the front porch waving hello”
— “I Need A Ride Home” lyrics by Gorley, Lindsey and Jenkins
Just a day ago, Girlwonder sent me a copy of a new song titled “Ride Home.” She said “This made me think of our family — and home.” I listened to it immediately of course. It was beautiful.
In this lovely song, a young woman sings about how she just wants to go back home “to the creek she grew up with” and “Mama and Daddy sitting on the front porch waving hello.” It was so sweet.
She said she was sorry for making me cry. I assured her they were happy tears. Isn’t that sentiment how every parent hopes their child will think of home?
Just a few hours later, she awoke to dire weather warnings of severe storms heading her way. She hopped in her car with two dogs well ahead of the storm and headed straight to her childhood home.
She arrived safe and sound and let herself in. She sent the following text at 1 a.m.: “We’re here tucked into my old room … also you have the worst guard dogs ever.” She added the laughing emoji for emphasis.
Yes, we surely do. Both Jackson and Nova (real names used to expose the not-so-innocent) slept right through a whole adult and two dogs traipsing into the house and upstairs to bed.
She says terrible guard dogs. I, however, prefer to think our dogs know that GirlWonder, her darling bear-shaped dog and their faithful six-pound guard morkie were not an imminent threat.
Also, we all really like our sleep.
Asked how she slept this morning she said “Great! I don’t care how grown I am; the minute I’m back in this house, I no longer feel like I have to be an adult. That’s all you and Dad. I slept like a baby feeling like you were in charge.”
This made me laugh and also realize that what she said is entirely true.
Not the same
I visited my grandparent’s home yesterday for the first time since Gran passed. It occurred to me that in all my life, I have never, not once, been in that house without her present. There was simply never a reason to be.
I felt her loss anew the moment I stepped across that threshold and was not immediately pulled into a big hug. Furthermore, no one asked if I had eaten. Was I hungry? I could have been thirsty and not a single person present fretted about it! Am I just in charge of myself here? Honestly, it was surreal.
This, I realize, was my own version of “I expected an adultier adult.” My cousin and I marveled that we feel somehow more grown up now. We are both well into adulthood, but losing our last grandparent hit differently.
As we moved through the house, I was tasked with finding things. I had spent a lot of time with Gran exploring the basement and such, as she plied us with things she wanted us to have over the past few years.
Thus, I entered the house on a mission. I gathered up an errant wedding album, wedding dress, calligraphy set, and a c. 1894 wedding portrait that was rolled up on a shelf in the basement. Naturally.
Through it all, I kept expecting my Gran, always a bona fide adult, to provide guidance and an interesting anecdote or two as we pulled items out of cabinets and closets.
The grandfather clock in the entry ticked along with the murmurs of family members. We pored through old photo albums and wondered what the details of the photos might be.
For some photos, we can guess the backstory, but for others, the facts are lost to us. We will never really know. I thought we had asked every question and gathered every fact. I realize now you never really can. We will forever be left wanting more. We feel unmoored. Adrift somehow.
Outside, on the sidewalk in front of the house, a neighbor walking her dog stopped to say hello. She noted that her dog was pulling her up the driveway because he had grown used to visiting Gran on his daily walks. Now, the dog looked expectantly toward the porch, straining on his leash.
As the kind neighbor expressed her condolences and bid us farewell, the dog again resisted her tug on his leash. He looked back toward the porch as if he expected to see Gran there welcoming him after all.
Me too, pup. Me too.
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