Have you ever seen the Wilderness Downtown interactive video? If not, you should check it out. Right now. Just click on the link and follow the instructions.
Well? Pretty cool, right?
If you weren't able to see it, I'll give you the gist (although, obviously, major spoiler alert). You type in the address of your childhood home and then sit back to watch an intensely stirring video for the Arcade Fire song We Used to Wait. Why is it so stirring? Because the whole time you're watching someone run, like he's lost or looking for something, and at the end of the video he finally finds it.
The home you grew up in.
The first time I saw it I had no idea that's what I was looking at. Google Maps took the guy to the wrong house (go figure) so the setting was strangely familiar but I didn't know why. When I finally realized what I was looking at, I understood why the video felt so heavy. Where we grow up holds a lot of weight.
Our homes are a part of who we are. This is true for all people but I think especially true for children. Where we sleep and play and grow, the streets we ride our bikes on, the trees we know we can climb, the shortcuts we use to get to the park or our friend's house, the spot in the backyard where we know no one can see us. These things mean something.
And it's not at all what they mean to us now that we're grown up. My home is still a major player in my life story but in ways that probably don't mean diddly squat to my kids. I think of my home in terms of design and investment and security, whether it's working for our family's needs, what needs to be fixed or cleaned or moved around. I love it but in a different way than my kids do.
Maybe it's because they just kind of show up and live where they live. They don't get to choose neighborhoods or throw their two cents in regarding yard size or the number of bathrooms. They don't have a lot of say in the matter at all. Even when they do (ahem, random things taped ALL over our walls...), they really don't. Because their home is not exactly theirs.
Except it totally is. As much as this is my house or Bill's house, this is Liam and Finn's childhood home. The place they will someday remember with heavy hearts because it was just such a huge part of their lives. Like a character in their story. Like me. Or the dog. Or the neighbors. We're all completely intertwined right now but someday we'll all just be different pieces of each others' stories.
Which is why it makes me happy that even though I get final say on paint colors and who sleeps where, my boys feel one hundred perfect confident that this house is their HOME. No question. I love that they will remember it in ways I will never even experience.
It's why I secretly love getting out of the shower just in time to see Liam walking down the hall with a hammer (because he's turning his room into a forest). Or come down the hall to find Finn laying under the piano bench on his tummy, chewing gum he found in the cabinet. It's why I don't break my neck trying to keep things too perfect. Wild adventures rarely happen where messes don't.
It's also one of the reasons I try to remember to stay out of my kids space when I can. I'm thrilled to be a part of their story but I want the story to be theirs. So someday they can look back at their childhood, at their childhood home, and be flooded with memories that are authentically their own.