I’ve often wondered about the title of Thomas Wolfe’s book. I mean, can you go home again? Thomas Wolfe doesn’t think you can, but me, I don’t know. I think it’s possible, in some ways, to go back to your childhood.
I’m in Miami right now with my kids on our semi-annual visit to the land of grandparents. As soon as I walk out of the airport and into the blinding wet heat of Miami, everything feels so familiar. The muggy smell of the place, the thick clouds, everyone dressed in bright colors speaking Spanish. I’m standing there in my hippie jeans, a peasant blouse and a cashmere sweater feeling like a total fish out of water. Why didn’t I wear my white jeans, stilettos and my gold spangled top on the plane? Oh, because you don’t have any of those things.
Not only is the look of Miami so different than Northern California, but the way of being is so different. Especially the way people talk to children — at least the way my family talks to children. I’m raising my kids in the age of the over-informed helicopter parent. I’ve taken classes on parenting, had group talks on parenting, even parent meditations. Positive discipline! Conscious parenting! Attachment parenting! (By the way, I don’t think any of it has made me a great parent.) My friends and I phrase things to our children. We negotiate. We team build. (For better or for worse, we’ll see…)
So it’s not so much the heat or the fashion or the smell of Miami that reminds me of who I am and where I came from. It’s the language.
August walked up to my dad in the kitchen this morning and said, “Grandpa, we’re out of milk.”
My dad looked down at his little five year old grandson and said, “That’s because you piss ants drank it all.”
Yep. You can definitely go home again. I know that because I’m here.