November 1, 2007 at 1:09 am 4 comments

When I was a child, I was a tad dramatic. I mean, I acted in plays and all that, but it was really just an extension of my dramatic nature. My parents called me “Miss Sunshine and Smiles” and then I’d have a crying meltdown every afternoon.

I remember, around puberty, crying in my room about something or other and sobbing, “I want to go home!” Really, I was home. In our house in California, with my family. We had moved from back East a few years earlier, but I wasn’t crying for Maryland. I was crying for someplace where I felt like I fit in. Where I felt like I had people supporting me. Where things felt right.

Of course, during puberty, that was nearly impossible.

In my twenties, I also searched for “home.” I lived on the East Coast, West Coast, and in the Midwest. I still wanted to know where I fit. I was brought up on two coasts, with two religions, and many interests. I wasn’t this or that, here or there. I returned to California in my late 20’s, realizing that California is home for me. Or at least I’ve made it home. Now I’ve made a family and a life here. I cherish the ocean and the weather, the great produce, the familiarity.

Last week, when we had to leave our home, leave California, the concept of home came into question for me again. Truth be told, our house is beyond our means. Whose isn’t here? Coastal California is insanely expensive. And Southern California is more conservative than we’d choose, and faster-paced than we’d like. It would be nice to have a real yard for kids to play in. And, suddenly, the San Diego area seems a bit of a foolhardy place for an asthmatic with an allergic child to settle, as these fires seem to get worse and more frequent as years pass.

So, as we traveled, voluntary evacuees, we began to rethink home, the home we figured we’d stay in for many years. Would we ever leave here? What if we had to leave? Is there another place we could be happy?

We had a lovely time in slower-paced Oregon, with extended family, enjoying the sites and fall colors and liberal, literary people, seeing the homes with yards that can be had for half the price of homes here. Hmmmm, we thought. Would we really reconsider staying in San Diego?

Then, last night, we returned. Home. Our little townhouse, in our coastal San Diego town, with smoke lingering faintly in the air, and homemade soup and cookies from our neighbor waiting for us on our kitchen table. My daughter’s cantaloupe-colored room, our bright kitchen, our pictures on the walls and books on the shelves, the ocean three miles west. The weather is warm, the sun shining. The people at the natural food store welcomed us back by name. We have friends here.

People we know no longer have a house to call home. Our community is shook. But, we are back, in our imperfect but lovely house and our imperfect but lovely community. It sure feels good — right — to be home.

In the coming weeks, months, and years, we will probably continue to talk about what “home” means to us. Anyplace we settle ourselves has its benefits and drawbacks. Which do we choose? For now, we have chosen to be here, and today it sure feels just perfect. I can’t stop smiling as I settle back into our house.

The gift of this tragedy for me is that we’ve now faced the possibility of losing this house, be it by fire or finances. And that truly felt like nothing compared to the possibility of losing one another. We love this house, but when we fled last Tuesday, all we kept saying was that we were glad to be together.

It’s been said many times before, but it rings so true to me right now: Home is not a place, it is a feeling. A feeling I longed for as a dramatic, angst-filled tween. A feeling I am so thankful to have now. To feel at home is one of the greatest successes in this life. To have a home, a house that stands when others fall, is a gift not to be taken lightly.

Today I am thankful for my home, to be here, to be with my family. In the future, I know home will be here or there, wherever we make it, God-willing, together.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Perspective On a Lighter Note

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. caroline  |  November 1, 2007 at 5:42 am

    What a lovely reflection on home. Welcome home!

  • 2. Sugar  |  November 1, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    Welcome Back, Megan!

    Mrs. Jones

  • 3. motherreader  |  November 3, 2007 at 12:35 am

    I really struggle with this concept, too. In fact, I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately as we try to sell our house and consider moving. I’m also rootless, despite being raised in the same state, on the same coast. But we moved around a lot when I was a child, and I guess I’ve grown accustomed to it. I just want a house that makes me feel so comfortable that I never want to leave. Is it something I seek out or is it something I make? What if I don’t know how to make it?

    So glad to know you are safe and sound — and home.

  • 4. lifeinthegravy  |  November 3, 2007 at 1:29 am

    (insert sigh of relief here) you’re ok!.. and as insightful as ever 🙂


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To spark conversation about redefining success (as individuals, families and institutions) and to counter "never enough" messages currently circulating in our culture.

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Megan Pincus Kajitani: Writer, Editor, Former Academic Overachiever and Career Counselor, Mom, Wife, Feminist, Gen Xer, Californian who believes that change is possible View Megan Pincus Kajitani's profile on LinkedIn

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