Hugs and Chickens


Hubs and I were driving through my home town last week to pick up Isaac for his sleepover when the car in front of us suddenly slammed on the brakes and swerved almost completely off the road. We could not figure out what was happening and then we saw it.. A huge white chicken running away from the front of the car into the grass on the side of the road. Yep, I am home.

I know I am home (in my hometown that is) when we drive through the center of town and have to be mindful of chickens crossing the road. The chickens are my home town’s mascot. They roam free, do as they please, and the entire town accommodates them. Up until it was recently demolished they were often seen hanging out by the Popeye’s Chicken, the irony was lost on no one, so the owners put in a “chicken crossing” sign in order to help keep them safe.

Earlier in the week I had been in town spending the day with my Mom and Moo, we stopped at a local second hand shop so I could donate some home goods I was getting rid of and there were the chickens roaming around the gravel parking lot. Moo jumped out of the car as we unloaded so she could chase a big black and white hen.

After Todd and I saw that chicken last week this post started to write itself in my head. I know I am home when… A post about what home means to me.

When I was a child home was the oak trees I grew up climbing, the tangerine trees I filled up on all season long, the fields of wild flowers where I picked Black Eyed Susans in the spring. Home was the sound of the train going by, and the sound of the marching band from the high school on October evenings from my open window as I drifted off to sleep. Home was Papa’s Lovely Noodles when I was sick and collard greens and sausage balls at Christmas. Home was camping trips and fall vacations and playing with my cousins and dancing to Burl Ives records in my grandmother’s living room. Home was the tree house in my back yard and watching the Labyrinth on Friday nights when I would sleep over at Papa’s. Home was catching toads and digging up earth worms in my grandmother’s rich soil and picking up box turtles that lived in the fields. Home was my parents singing Adelvice, The Ants Go Marching, This Little Lamb, and Inch Worm at bed time. Home was my uncle and aunt always making time to play with me.

As a teenager home was the comfort of my mother in times of turmoil. Home was summer evenings at the lake behind my friend’s house, it was my boyfriend holding my hand as he shifted gears in his car while we listened to Blink182, it was my father consoling me. Home was the play group I belonged to, and Madonna’s greatest hits backstage with my girlfriends. Home was watching Scream and other cheesy scary movies on Friday night sleepovers with my best friend. Home was English class and Art class. Home was driving my red pick up truck listening to A Perfect Circle and New Found Glory and Dashboard Confessional. Home was weekly beach trips with my cousin.

In my twenties home was my best friend, her acceptance and humor and mayhem. Home was my Friday night favorites, the group I went out with every weekend. Home was dancing and road trips and girl time. Home was our favorite bars and the comfort of knowing the regulars and the bouncers and the bar tenders. Home was concerts and music in general. Home was playing with my niece and nephew when they were babies. Home was my parents nursing me through the most painful break up of my life. Home was my first apartment of my own. Home was conversations with people I admired about books and music and life. Home was my bedroom furniture that my dad and I stained and sealed ourselves.

Then at the end of my twenties I met my husband. Home became our first home together. Home became the community we live in together. Home became his family and Chicago and other parts of Illinois. Home became his friends and his stories and Lucy. Home became sitting on his lap on the couch and laying my head on his chest. Home became feeling safe in a car again. Home became his hugs, being completely enveloped in him. Home became adventures together and funny dances and reading books in bed together. Home became Washington D.C. and all the other places we have made memories in. Home became bands like City and Colour. Home became the home we live in together now and the neighbors on our street.

Now I know I am home when I feel myself pressed up against him. I know I am home when I drive down my street and see our trees in the front yard. I know I am home when I drive through the city. I know I am home by the sound of the train passing by at night. I know I am home when my mother and I talk like friends. I know I am home when my Dad and I talk and balance life for each other. I know I am home when Lucy is tucked into the nook of my knee. I know I am home when I am on the floor playing with one of my nieces or nephew. I know I am home when my brother and I are being honest about things that hurt. I know I am home when I am with one of my soul friends and our energy and conversations lock us into another time and place where it is just me and her. I know I am home with my social work people where ideas and emotions flow freely. I know I am home when I am covered in paint, deep in a book, writing, and feelings otherwise inspired. I know I am home when I feel free and loved and safe.

I know I am home when I look at my life and feel calm and peace and gratitude.

I know I am home when I can look at myself and say I love you sweet girl, you are magic.

I know I am home.

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