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Hello Goodbye

June 12, 2016

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Where — or maybe more aptly — what is home?

For four years, ten months, and eighteen days, I’ve been slow to come around to Lancaster County, PA, being home, with her brilliant, rolling green pastures and juxtaposed old order and emergent new.

First, the house on Ashford, where three learned to be a new kind of family. Then two cozy, maybe too small, apartments where three became four, where sons became brothers. And then a tall, square, minty green house on the most impossibly narrow city street where 100 years of old had been transformed into new and lovely, where from the smallest bedroom corner of the house, we could watch fireworks drip over the city. And finally, then, a 1950s original vintage kitchen, with too worn carpet, and a warm, sunny, soft green backyard. This house where four welcomed the fifth and we grew more. I can close my eyes — because it was just yesterday — and see my boys playing, laughing, running haphazardly around that suburban backyard, see my baby sway all full of joy in her bucket swing with just enough sunlight to hint at the strawberry in her hair.

Lancaster,  where your summers aren’t hot or sticky enough, I’ve  been slow to name you home. Because home to me could only ever be that place where I rooted for 15 years. I’ve resisted your too cold, too white, sometimes too bleak winters. Your springs too pungent with manure smell. Your requirement that friendships start all new, all shiny, kinda scratchy, like those new, unlaundered pants, not quite worn in and comfortable, like the kind of comfortable two decades of living can bring. Lancaster, a backdrop for me, to real grief, complicated by miles and miles of distance. A place in which I was a stranger to those who had not met me and a stranger even really to myself, my new self, with my newly diagnosed son, my newly growing family.

But as we’ve packed, as we’ve shared meals and hugs and promises of visits, as we’ve quietly said goodbye, I’ve realized Lancaster has been our home. For four years,ten months, and eighteen days, Lancaster has given us deep green summers, and piles of snow for my boys to discover the thrill of sledding, and some of the freshest produce on God’s green earth, and yes even friendships that have become family. People, once new, now familiar like your favorite soft, worn leather reading chair, helping me know them, know myself, know that my family was loved. Helping to read, to witness our story and us theirs. Lancaster, you have homed us. And while you may not look or feel or smell like my first home, you have run gently a quiet, deep stream of gratitude through my heart. Gratitude for who you’ve helped me see that I am. Gratitude for how you’ve embraced the messiness and complexities of us learning to be a special needs family. Gratitude for how you’ve expanded us, taught us how to be us, new and differently and all over again.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Deb permalink
    June 12, 2016 7:03 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart and thoughts so eloquently . Your writing talents provide a fresh perspective. May God encourage you as you resettle in ‘home’ and establish Ben’s business and your beautiful family.

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