with Lynne and Leslie
Tag Archives: visits

Love Is A House

by SweetMidlife

Hi! Lynne here.

Last weekend, my sister and I both traveled from our houses (mine in Maryland and hers in Florida), each with the kid we raise (we each have a toddler), and went to my Mom’s house in Little Rock for a few days. It was beautiful and laugh-filled, and it is also weird because I just wrote “my Mom’s house” and not “my parents’ house”, a phrase it has been very hard to say. See, this is the first time that we’d been to Arkansas since our dad’s funeral 3 years ago.

And it was better than last time, but still weird.

The last time I was there were two trips, actually, a few weeks apart. The first was Fathers’ Day Weekend of 2012, when my husband and I took our then 2-week old son to meet my dad, who was dying. We knew it. We knew it. But I was still in some denial that he would pull through. And they met, and Daddy was happy. And he stopped talking while we were there, and the baby, my mom, my aunts and uncle and I went back and forth to the hospital. Mommy and Daddy’s house was respite, because we got to leave the hospital and the sadness there and be comfortable, and act like things were normal, which is good in those situations. And a lie. But you need some normalcy in those times. And I got to go to Daddy’s office upstairs and pray and wish that he would recover and come back home, and sit in that chair, and maybe tell my mom the WiFi password, because she forgot it and we counted on him to know these things. And we went back to MD, and Daddy died about a week later.

The second trip was on July 4, when my husband and baby and I went back for Daddy’s funeral. We have a big family, so it took time to get it together and to make sure that everyone would be there. And there are a bunch of us, and we had like 8 people sleeping there. And the house was a respite again, but this time from the funeral home and the viewing and cemetery visits, and the wake and the funeral, and also the Mexican place up the street with $2.50 Happy Hour Margaritas. We liked that. And it was great to have a place to rest and nurse and pump milk and watch TV and eat all of the food people brought (ALL. THE. FOOD.) and laugh some. But there were also tears there, and the realization that Daddy wasn’t coming back, at least not in the flesh, and going into his office felt so strange, and we still didn’t know the WiFi password.

In the years since, we have missed him, and seen Mommy a lot, because she has come up here to Maryland for holidays and such, since most of our family are still here, and she has been to Florida to see Leslie’s family, too, so we have had plenty of Mommy, but because of time and money and the like, neither of us had been down to Little Rock since the funeral. And it was a beautiful weekend. I felt Daddy’s presence, but the sadness was removed from it. I did have some moments, sitting in the chair that I fed my kid in when we were there for the funeral, and looking at the couch where I slept while my infant son slept in a drawer (yes, we did that) between hospital visits, and I thought of the cloud that hung over us the last time we were there, the tangible fog that is grief. But I then remembered that this was also the same couch that we watched all the Law and Order with Daddy on, and the same one we slept on in front of the fireplace when we came to visit for Christmas and the heat went out because of a massive ice storm. And that kitchen table was the one that held all of that funeral food, but also the one where we ate leftover catfish, and the one that my dad sat at when he tearfully told our then-boyfriends/now-husbands that Leslie and I were the most important things in the world to him, and that they needed to take care of us (my husband swears that my dad was pointing a gun at them under the table, but that did not happen, but you know daddies and daughters). And that kitchen counter was where all of the bottles sat when we were there last, but it also held the Fry Daddy that our Daddy fried the aforementioned fish in. And there was the old fashioned popcorn popper that he stayed up all night one Christmas Eve to put together for Mommy. And in the living room there used to be a hospital bed, but there were also the pictures of family that Daddy “borrowed” from people’s houses and set up on his coffee table. Because that’s what homes are. They are keepers of all of your memories, both happy and painful. And if you are fortunate, the meter click backs to happy again. Even on those sad visits, there was some joy, and on this past weekend, there were toddlers and trucks and Pack and Plays and also Margaritas, because yes. Daddy never met Leslie’s little one, and only saw mine for a weekend, but we didn’t land on that. We landed on how he would have had a good time running around with them, but also would have set those tantrums straight. He would have loved it. So even though we missed him, and missed him greatly (and my mother misses him in that space daily), it was a circle of life thing (which is fitting because The Lion King was my Daddy’s favorite EVAH). Life goes on. And that’s really, really good.

Fuzzy picture of a boy, his Mommy and his zebra, all going to Arkansas.

Fuzzy picture of a boy, his Mommy’s hair and shoulder, and his zebra, all going to Arkansas.


Five Minute Friday: Visiting home, and having home visit

by SweetMidlife

I no longer feel like a visitor in my own home.

Leslie here! Our word for the day is “Visit.” Here goes!


I am a transplant in South Florida, a place that is often said to have no natives, which is dumb and arrogant on the part of the transplants, because somebody’s getting born in those hospitals. Anyway, I’m often asked “Where are you from?” with the assumption that I am originally from somewhere else. And I am a native Baltimorean by way of Pennsylvania. For years that was my identity, to the point where even though my mail was delivered here, I still referred to Baltimore as “home,” though I hadn’t lived there since 1992. I felt lighter there, more comfortable. I felt like I was at home on my visits, and visiting in Florida, which was technically my home.

But a funny thing happened about five years ago – I fell in love with a man who was from home, from my high school, who also felt like a visitor in the state where he’d lived off and on for a decade. But we found more than a person to kiss and share a mortgage with. We found our home. And suddenly, this place where we were living felt like home. Our friends and family were secretly hoping that, having fallen in love, we would move back to Maryland and finally be home. The weird thing was – we each fell in love with a Baltimorean and finally felt like Floridians. We were no longer visiting in this space. We belonged.

I still don’t get how Floridians drive. But I guess I am one now, no longer a visitor in my home. So it’s sort of OK.


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