Our first night back at the ranch, neither Jeremiah nor I got very much sleep. The house noises were all wrong; the room was chilly; our house critters were (and still are) staying with my dad at our old place. I woke up nearly hourly, and I felt no desire to climb out of bed in the morning, but I did. That first full day, Jeremiah and I moved through the house and barn and pastures like turtles stuck in molasses in December.
The second night at the ranch I felt terribly exhausted but still couldn’t sleep. I laid in bed next to my husband trying to will myself to feel at ease. I tossed and turned, hoping that some bodily position would magically fix my nerves. Jeremiah, kept awake by my constant motion, eventually spoke.
“Something wrong honey?”
Words exploded rapid fire. “The house noises are all wrong, and I’m so tired, and I can’t sleep. My brain won’t shut off.”
“Me either. This just isn’t home yet.”
And that was it. The floodgates opened, and I started to sob. Through those deep breathes in between, I responded.
“It’s not home! I miss home.”
Desperately homesick in my own bed, I cried myself to sleep, Jeremiah cuddled next to me, rubbing my back and telling me that he wished he could make it ok.
I felt somewhat better the next morning. (It’s amazing how well tears work to dissolve nervous and negative energy.) The house didn’t magically feel like home, but somehow that’s easier to deal with when the sun is up. And it wasn’t that I regretted our decision to move here, not for a second, but I felt like we built home in that little, drafty, near 100 year old house in the Heights. And this big old farm house was starting over from scratch with just as many new projects to start as we had completed.
My mother-in-law came over that morning, and she helped me clean my new kitchen. (We were still cleaning up after a one-time significant mouse population…) And I’m pretty sure that Jeremiah told her everything about how his silly wife cried herself to sleep, which is fine. She stayed for hours, helping me clean and looking at me like she wanted to hug me. And when we were done the kitchen was clean, meaning one small corner of my world was settled, and my outlook was better.
It took a week or so to settle in. When we first moved in, the stove was unconnected. Most of our dishes were still packed. Also, the outlet in our bathroom was wallpapered; it literally took me a week to see it, and before then I dried my hair on the bedroom floor. (All the while I wondered why on earth one would fail to put an outlet in a bathroom. It made no sense whatsoever.) As time went by and little things came together, this place started to make some sense to me.
Of course, it helps that I have always viewed this ranch as a sort of second home. Even when the house felt so very foreign, the barns and the fields felt familiar and right.
Yesterday, I ran errands like mad, including a stop at the Heights house. I heard myself, in my head, referring to the place as “Dad’s” and the ranch as “home.” That was weird for me, but I guess I will consider it a step in the right direction, because every day, this place feels a little more like home. It feels a little more right.
Today I made scalloped corn for Thanksgiving Dinner at my in-laws’ place. It’s my grandmother’s recipe, as much a part of our holiday traditions as the Macy’s parade or pumpkin pie…maybe even more so. I opened the oven to check the progress of the dish.
Scientists says that smell gives us our closest tie to memory of all the senses. I believe them. In that moment, I felt like I was back at grandma’s as a little girl, trudging through their cold porch on the way into the kitchen; scalloped corn was usually the first dish you could smell. And, in that moment, it didn’t matter that I was in a new home in a new town, because there was scalloped corn in the oven, and it was Thanksgiving, and it felt good and familiar and homey.
This year, I am thankful for change, no matter how drastic or scary or huge, because, as they say, change is the only way you grow.
16 thoughts on “Scalloped Corn, Thanksgiving, and Drastic, Scary Changes.”
What a delightful post!
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If it helps any, as much as I am pleased you two are making the farm your ‘forever home’ and as much as I (generally) like it here, I cried some tears at your posting of moving in. I admit that I get homesick at times, not for Sping Bay or for the house (other than the view out the sun room, maybe), but for the farm in general and what it meant to me.
So cry those tears for the home you left, then laugh at your chickens and give your horses or the lamas a hug. Your barn mom certainly understands.
Thanks, Lisa. I think we’re both where we’re supposed to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s straightforward or easy. And sometimes I have to remind myself of that.
That snowy view is beeeeeaaauuuutiful!
Thanks hon. Hugs back
A journal writing of a time in your life that you will be so glad you recorded; Since the time, you were that little girl “trudging” into our home, the last few years I have watched you develop and mature as you faced some really unusual circumstances and obstacles almost every single day ! This is a beautiful story of young girl revealing how she changed into a full fledged grown up woman; and how we all need the support and love of others.
Thank you for sharing.
Robert Frost said home is where you go and they have to let you in. I love that line but for a place to feel like home, you have to put a lot of yourself into it. That is why a new house never feels like home, it takes a while to adapt to a house – and for it to adapt to you.
Oooo- I like that line too!
I think the old “home is where your heart is” cliche is true. I guess my heart is still split, but i suppose it will get there eventually
What a beautiful view out that window! Cherity, it takes time to nestle into a house and make it a home. As you unpack and settle in, then see what might be changed and tweaked, you either decide to stay or move on, it will soon feel comfy and as if you’ve been there forever or you’ll know it is not meant to be. Like wild birds, we sometimes land where the winds carry us. We make our nest. In time, we may decide that nest or area doesn’t work out and we move on… or it feels very good, we flourish and we stay. You’ll find your niche, sweet girl. Be patient. 🙂
Thanks for such a lovely comment. This whole move has been one of the best, and one of the most diffcult, things i have ever done. But, in the end, i think it’s where we’re supposed to be.
What a beautiful post! Loved the imagery of you visiting your grandma.
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Cherity, I carry the same exact memories with the scalloped corn. We make it every single year, and it evokes such wonderful memories. Your view from your new living room is stunning, and I know that as you look out every single day, you’ll be reminded of how much you love this place, and are happy to be here.
And on a side note, how’s the moth ball problem?
Completely mitigated! The mold is set to be cleared up on Sunday as well. Now my house simply smells a little like a barn, so all is as it should be.