September 26, 2011

I returned late Saturday from my trip to California—and thank you all for your good wishes! All went well, and I came back refreshed in body and mind: no alarm clocks (except for the day I left: 3:45 a.m.!), and plenty of time to eat, drink, talk, read and even think (occasionally).

Before I go any farther, I’d like to thank my husband and mother-in-law who kept things running on the home front, making it possible for me to make this trip—love and gratitude to you both!

I flew to Sacramento, where I was born and where my dad and step mom still live, then rented a car and drove a couple hours north to where my mom and step dad live. I split my eight-day visit between the two of them. This blog post will cover the first half of my trip, and Friday’s will cover the rest.

I’ve written about where my mom lives before. Since we moved a lot as I grew up, this house is the closest thing I have to a childhood home. Many of my happiest memories occurred here, and it will always be one of my favorite places. It’s strange to me that though I grew up in California, went to college and got married there, I’ve now lived in Florida almost as long if not longer. (I don’t want to do the math!)

My first full day at my mom’s, I took a walk through part of the property, revisiting places I’d loved as a child:

 The acreage behind the house

The bee hives

The barn

The irrigation ditch

I returned covered in burrs:

I’d made two requests of my mom: visits to Trader Joe’s and to Cal’s Books, an awesome used book store in Redding, CA. TJ’s, as we always used to call it, was more an exercise in torture, because I couldn’t bring back much of anything…though I did buy some snacks and wine to enjoy while I was in California. And Cal’s…well, if you know me at all, you know the attraction there. I found only two books this time, which was probably just as well because I didn’t have room in my suitcase for more.

The last day of my stay with my mom, we checked out Anderson River Park, on the banks of the Sacramento River. After eating our lunch there, we spent the afternoon reading, chatting, relaxing and playing musical chairs trying to stay in the shade. Every so often, a breeze would blow off the river to cool us down. I wandered about a little, taking pictures.

This trip brings up the complicated question of where my “home” really is. Is it the place I grew up, where my birth family lives, and that I still love? Is it the place my husband, son and I live? For me, it’s both—the place of my roots that I will always long for AND the place I currently live with the people I love. I don’t have to choose—the more places that feel like home, the better.

What makes a place home for you?

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  1. So glad you had a good time. It looks lovely there and lovely weather, too--hopefully not so hot and humid! I'm not sure anymore where home is--I've had a weird year and my awful neighbors make me miserable so that I often wish I were somewhere else. I guess home should be something you carry with you. Have to think on that one. Anyway--vacations are a good thing!

  2. Looks and sounds like a fabulous vacation! Home is in the heart I think....and the strings we attach to the memories created in a given place.

    Thought provoking question!

  3. Sounds like you had pretty places to see and fun visiting except for those burrs! It's too late for this trip but my sister packs up a box of goodies and mails it home rather than worrying about fitting stuff in a suitcase. They've got those one-price boxes now that make it cheaper probably than an extra suitcase!

  4. Danielle--I had a marvelous time, and even though it was hot, it was NOT humid, so it felt good to me! Even got some uninterrupted reading time on my flights, and right before bed every night.

  5. Laure--I agree home is in the heart...so you can be at home wherever you are!

  6. Timaree--I'll tell you a little secret...My dad and step mom mailed a box for me! I bought just a few too many goodies from Trader Joe's, not to mention a really cute purse I found on sale!

  7. Hi Kathy, welcome home! I'm happy to hear that you had such a great time with your Mom and step-dad the first part of your trip. Northern CA is so pretty; we were supposed to go to Willow Creek this summer, but haven't made it yet. That is where my husband spent much of his childhood.

    Can't wait to hear about the second half of your adventure.

    Go Rays!

    Kathy M.

  8. This post has the best ending. It made me smile and nod. You are so right..."the more places that feel like home, the better." We don't to choose between them.

    I also enjoyed your pictures and your story of returning home. It sounds like it was a good visit.

  9. Thanks, Sara--it was a really nice trip.