I just returned home after a road trip up north to Boston, Massachusetts. I went there to visit my grown son and see the new “digs” he recently moved into. Mom being mom, I wanted to check it out and to see whether or not he needed anything for it. No matter what age our children are, they will always be our babies.
I absolutely loved the place and was ultra impressed with their decorating style (he shares the apartment with his girlfriend), especially the “New York Wall.” Chuckling more than once during the visit at his fastidiousness, I realized how alike we are because I too feel a need for everything to be in its rightful place. There’s something so comforting about that.
Anyway, as much as being in Boston is always wonderful for me, it is also difficult. I lived there for a decade and found myself homesick for it in the middle of being there, which seems odd in itself. I have always adored the city and the burbs surrounding it, but for much of the ten years I lived and worked in it I didn’t trust that I belonged there.
Which brings me to the subject of “belonging.” I gotta tell you – at times I ache realizing how often throughout my life I didn’t trust “right there right then.” I am tugged to “if only,” more often than I care to admit. “If only” I’d known how to stay. And what I know today, absolutely, is that I always belonged wherever I was, even if I didn’t know it then.
Back when I arrived in “Beantown,” having just been transferred with the financial services company I worked for, I had the world by the tail, hindsight being 20/20 of course. I was mom to an amazing young teen, owner of a beautiful home in Fairfield County, Connecticut and was making serious bucks. I had great friends (many thankfully still friends today) and a life beyond my wildest dreams.
But, from the minute I got to the Bay State I missed the Constitution one. Even though I traveled back and forth on weekends, it just wasn’t the same. On Friday I’d be bummed out that I was going to miss the weekend in Boston and on Monday I hated that the week’s happenings in Connecticut would go on without me. It was exhausting. And it continued for years. I regularly felt the “should I stay or should I go” feeling when I was in either place and I longed to put down roots in only one, but just couldn’t decide which. I have come to realize that I don’t do well with one foot in one place and one in another.
The tug of war that occurred is telling for me today. I needed a foundation so badly and was so busy looking for the place I belonged in that I completely missed the fact that I utterly belonged in both Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Last weekend, as we strolled through Faneuil Hall and the waterfront, I felt a tug so gut wrenching, so visceral that it almost took my breath away. That old familiar pull of “if only” and “what if.” I allowed it to come and honored it, but only for a moment. Then I turned to my son and his girlfriend and together we headed off to visit Paul Revere’s house. As we walked through the rooms, I thought about what it must have been like to live there so many years ago. I couldn’t help but wonder if Paul ever struggled with whether or not he belonged.
For the rest of the day, as we wandered around Boston, I allowed myself to be a sightseer in the city I once lived in. I daresay a slightly arrogant one though, because I so absolutely knew my way around. Thinking back, I remember having a sudden confident jaunt in my step as we maneuvered through the streets and decided to pass up the chocolate covered canolis at Mike’s Pastry because only tourists wait on line there. At that moment, the one where the jaunt came in, where things shifted, I suddenly knew on some level I had come home to all the places I’d ever been. I also knew I would be there in Boston again many times and was relieved with the realization.
Today, I woke up with the sun shining in on my rental home in Florida. My husband tapped snooze on his alarm clock as I arose to greet the day. The coffee, I knew, was already brewing in the kitchen because he always sets the timer for me before going to bed. And moments later, as I stood looking out the window at the blue jay in the yard, coffee mug in hand, I breathed in a most lovely sense of belonging. Of fitting into my life now. The one I get to spend with someone I love. The one in which I can visit my amazing son and the places I used to call home. My life today, here and now. And I am so very grateful.