Emotional Roots: Can You Go Home Again?
Do you long to go home…to your childhood home? This is the stuff both dreams and nightmares are made of. Childhood is where you developed the foundation of who you are. The foundation that rocked your cradle and kept you warm and dry, also set your emotional and physical sense of place. Going back to our roots is a popular adage that authors write about, and troubadours croon about. There is an old Jackson Browne song that comes to mind, “Looking Into You.” It chronicles his experience of going back home:
Well, I looked into a house I once lived in
Around the time I first went on my own
When the roads were as many as the places I had dreamed of
And my friends and I were one
Now the distance is done and the search has begun
I’ve come to see where my beginnings have gone.
A recent EcoNesting article about heirloom items at home brought up some nostalgic stirrings about my own childhood home. Recently, I had the opportunity to drive by the house where I grew up. After my mom moved a few years ago, there’s been no reason to go back there. But on the way to visit a friend, I decided to get off the highway and check out the old neighborhood. Even though I hadn’t lived there for over 25 years, just driving around the corner had a familiar feel. The street used to be buzzing with activity. Now it seemed quiet. The house looked quieter too. It was more like looking at a snapshot–kind of surreal.
Have you been back to visit your childhood home? Or, maybe you moved back into that house. I couldn’t find any definitive statistics on the number of people who end up living back in the home they grew up in. But I did find an Associated Press article, which offers some of the reasons people do just that: “For some, it’s a good deal or a way to honor parents’ attachment to the home. Others simply feel the pull of the place where they grew up and sense…an opportunity to reconnect and sort of find oneself.” The article also suggested that “[p]eople who inherit a house can find themselves blindsided by memories and unable to part with their parents’ things. Those who buy the family home face the balancing act of putting their stamp on it without alienating Mom and Dad.” Can you relate to any of these feelings when you revisit your old home?
How about the interior design of the home? As a way to connect to your past, can you put an old stamp on a new home? I grew up in a home that was caring and fun. My parents decorating style was welcoming, comfortable and child-friendly. While not obvious to me at the time, they thought carefully about the objects they brought into the home. I have been bringing more and more of that nurturing feeling into my nest lately. While I can’t recreate what once was (and wouldn’t want to), decorating from that mid-century modern period feels right for now. Not a shrine to childhood, but more a convergence of style and emotion.
Emotional roots are a powerful reminder of where you came from and who you are now. For some, inheriting their family home brings it all home to roost. For others, family heirlooms are the connective thread. Others find a totally new separate sense of place is the healthiest to come home to.
How about you? Have you gone back to your childhood home? Do you live in your childhood home? Is your current home inspired by your emotional past?
Ronnie Citron-Fink lives in New York with her husband, two children (when they come home to the nest), two dogs and a cat. Ronnie is a teacher and a writer. She has been a contributing writer for Family Fun magazine. She currently writes articles about education and home design. Her writings are in four books including Family Fun Home and Some Delights of the Hudson Valley.