July 17, 2012 at 9:27 am | Posted in Giggles, Lollipop, Photo Tuesday, Transylvania | 17 Comments
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My older two children arrived home on Saturday after two weeks with their grandparents. In theory, we were to have spent those two weeks easily parenting one child while unpacking, discarding, rearranging, and regrouping. We had 14 whole days to get our American life back in order.


Instead, we fixed a broken AC and garbage disposal. We marveled at how the shed door had fallen completely off its hinges. And we wracked our brains trying to remember where we had put the car battery.

A mere 42 hours before the children were due back, three large men unloaded 13 very large boxes from a very, very large truck. Then they ferried them into my living room. Have a nice day, ma’am, they said, closing the door and leaving me blinking in the semi-darkness surrounded by Sharpied words like TOYS, BEDDING, POTS.

I peered into untidy closets and sticky dresser drawers. I wondered where on earth I would put nine pairs of mittens and a green cheese grater, among other artifacts from our Romanian life. But before I could decide — before I could even formulate wise-sounding reflections on the intermingling of our two existences — Lollipop and Giggles arrived.

They leapt from my dad’s truck and tumbled shoeless into their old living room. They exclaimed over the dog’s insistent full-face licks and the goldfish crackers they had been without for a year. They wanted to know whether I had unpacked Candy Land yet and how to flush the toilets. (On the side, not the top.)

As they raced through the house, up and down the hall, in and out of the dress-up box, they churned up fairy wings and very useful engines and lost Chuck E. Cheese coins. They asked if old friends could come over to play right this very minute at 11:39 p.m. And when they paused, briefly, to spin the globe at the top of the stairs, they asked me to show them Romania. And outer space. And home.

Without hesitating, without thinking, I put my finger here. Right here. On this country, this state, this city, this tiny dot on that big pastel sphere.

This is home. I’m starting to remember.

When someone asks you where home is, do you always know what to say? Are certain places forever connected to our subconscious? And, pray tell, how do you organize your family’s mittens?



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  1. I can only imagine the excitement of your children- and I hope that in them you can make the adjustment a little easier. Sounds like they’re discovering home all over again. Facinating!

  2. YAY! for them being “home”. Where do you put 9 pairs of mitts? in a bench seat by the door? if you don’t usually use mitts? you put them in one of thosebox frames, based on size? or just 3 pairs in 1 fram? small med large?

  3. Welcome back (again)! Harness their outlook and remember, home is where your family is, and no matter what everything will be just fine. take it in stride and just enjoy life!

  4. Home is where my kids and husband are. As far as mittens, I’m about ready to resort to safety pinning them together, and then to my children’s coats.

  5. I’m so glad you’re back in the states, dear H family. I can only imagine how Rocky and the rest of the animals reacted to your return! For me, home is always with my parents even though I have my own house. Wherever they are, I feel like a little girl again probably because like you, I’m an only child. Hope to see you the next time you’re in Georgia! (Lil S was so adorable visiting the office with your Dad…I remember back when she was so shy she’d barely speak and this time she didn’t stop talking…love it)

  6. The boxes arriving is so less important than the kids. They make home. (for me)

    Our mittens live in a plastic box in the garage. We use them maybe once a year? But I dream of colder places.

  7. Home is where the people are. Family, sure. But also friends.
    And mittens are strangely unorganizable. Do they go with hats? Socks? Packed away for winter? Out for play? And can you ever, possibly, keep them together?

  8. God bless you, Stacia. You have such a way of “painting” a story. So glad y’all are safe and sound back home. As for the mittens, it doesn’t matter where you put them, they’ll be lost when you need them!

  9. Whenever I talk to friends from Malaysia, we still say, “when are you going home?” even though the US has been my home now for almost as long as I’ve been in Malaysia. It’s weird to always have to catch myself every time.

    I think for those of us who’ve been fortunate enough to experience a life outside of our own homes, there will always be a part of us some place else instead. Irretrievable, wandering around in the Land of Longing.

  10. How exciting for them!!! What precious moments!!! So glad you all are back :-)!!!

  11. Where on earth did you store a car battery for a year?? Beautifully written, as always. So happy to hear you are adjusting at home. Can’t wait to visit again soon!!

  12. So…when do you start on the book about your adventures? I’ll be one of your first customers in line at the book-signing; you know, when you’re on tour here in Ohio. With your amazing photography AND writing skills, it would be a big hit, I just know it!

  13. Oh dear … international moves …

    Good luck.

  14. I’m so glad you’re home. I’m sure it will take a while before it feels that way again.

  15. I’ve been sending you BIG love and gravity.

  16. Hope you’re getting those boxes chipped away at and slowly adjusting to the US again. I can’t imagine the differences!

  17. […] was it. We’d unpacked the boxes. Registered for preschool and kindergarten and a new library card. Eaten our weight in Eggos. And […]

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