When I dream about home, it’s my childhood home. I can walk around furniture and look at rooms from different angles. I can see out the windows, as if I’ve been dropped in a museum diorama of my youth and allowed to walk around in it. This is the correct color of the kitchen cabinet, this is the quality of light in this room in the afternoon. I can zoom in to see the texture of an upholstered chair. These are details I may have noticed once, but after so much time, it’s startling have them laid in front of me.
My childhood home was sold, but I sometimes drive by, only to see toys on the front porch, and new trees planted in the yard. Inside, it would be understandable to find they had remodeled the kitchen. I remember it with everything we needed close at hand. A cutting board that pulled out from under the counter. The mobile dishwasher, a charming artifact of the days before everything was built in. The big ceramic sink. The Spice Islands spice racks. The cold floor in the winter. The view out over the back yard. The separate breakfast nook with hanging copper pots.
This weekend I’m visiting my mom. She’s been in her beautiful home for nearly 25 years, and while it is not where I grew up, I’ve been here often enough to make memories. Christmases and Thanksgivings with young kids, summer nights with cool breezes pulled in by the attic fan, poring over old photos, shoveling the long long driveway one winter when there was so much snow. But the core of those memories is always food. Some people buy a flower arrangement to welcome guests. My mom cooks a pot of soup. And roasts a chicken. And makes Benedictine. There is always something wonderful to enjoy. A mug of tea, buttered toast and a really good scrambled egg.
When I woke up this morning, I shifted to get out of bed and bumped into the wall instead. That’s when I remembered where I was and that I’ll be heading back tomorrow. It will be a few hours on the highway, and my own soup pot beckons.