According to the tenant living in my house in Georgia, I have squirrels in my attic. When I learned of this, my mind quickly starting singing "Squirrels in my Pants," a fun little ditty sung by Candace, Phineas and Ferb's distrusting big sister, that always makes Braden laugh. (This, sadly, is one of the hazards of motherhood. Confused by this reference? Read this blog for clarification) After that, I excitedly decided that the squirrels were a sign that a trip to Georgia was in order. (Not that I wasn't already planning a trip to Georgia, but the squirrels provided an excuse that seemed less selfish than "I need a best friend fix.")
So David Tatum, squirrel catcher extraordinaire, and I went to my house yesterday to assess the situation. Either my attic is home to Georgia's cleanest squirrels or the scampering steps heard by my tenant truly come from the roof because David saw no sign of the squirrels up there. He set a trap just to be safe, but I am optimistic that no critters will be captured. And should the tenant call again with reports of squirrels, I may decide to hire a trained professional rather than go back to the house myself because there is little I've experienced of late that is more unnerving than seeing my home filled with someone else's possessions.
I purchased my house in Georgia five years ago. A three bedroom, two bath Cape Cod with wrap-around porch, it symbolized my true immersion into adulthood and a home where my son and I could build our future. After viewing nearly twenty homes, I knew immediately that this was the one. The selling points: fenced-in back yard, garden tub, and beautiful accent wall complete with fireplace in the living room (to name a few). When I bought it, I never imagined Braden wouldn't spend his teenage years there. Yet here I am, five years and 750 miles later, no longer able to call it home sweet home.
From the outside, it looked the same as when it receded from my rear view mirror in June. (Okay, that's not entirely true given that my hydrangeas were in full bloom when I left, but dramatic license seems necessary here.) But when I crossed the threshold into the living room, the romance faded. Gone were the piano and overstuffed couches; gone were the kitchen table and chairs I found for a steal on Craig's List; gone were the pictures that lined the stairway wall from floor to ceiling; gone was the laughter of my son.
Even though the belongings that fill the duplex I currently rent in Missouri are the very same ones from my home in Georgia, the building itself doesn't feel like home. The laughter and the music are the same, but my heart is not yet connected. I know that it will take time to feel at home again in the state of my youth, and I am optimistic that this emotionality will eventually blossom, but coming back to my home in Georgia pulled at my heartstrings more than I expected.
And so, I return to Missouri today nostalgic for a home sweet home to call my own and cognisant that, as long as I continue to make decisions with my son's future at heart, we will be home wherever I hear his laughter.