One of the most common terms I've known over the years is , "home is where the heart is". If this rings true, then my home has been many places, as has my heart.
We (my little family of four) have spent the last eight days in Carlsbad, California visiting Nanna who moved to Carlsbad from SLC about three years ago after her husband passed. Nanna lives in a very nice gated community that if friendly , welcoming and has everything one could imagine as far as ammenties, to keep any retired person with a full calendar of activities, all within golf cart, biking or walking distance.
But first let me give you a small bit of backgroud that will certainly not encompass the gravity of this story, but might give you some perspective from the author (me).
In my life, one thing has been as sure as the sun rising each day; that from the moment I opened my eyes at birth until this moment as I write this, this woman has been by my side, through my ups and downs , has seen me at my best and worst with a love that is unwavering. So much so that it likely seems unfair to many in my extended family for me to be shown so much favor and grace. My love for her also knows no bounds and transcends lifetimes as well as logic, if there is any logic to the heart. Not only did she raise me as a child, but continues to as an adult. Yes, she still folds my laundry, feeds me and puts me before many things in her life.
In 1998 I came to Los Angles to find peace, heal and gain perspective after a great loss in Utah, which is my home. In 2008, I left Los Angles for may reasons, the biggest however was to be close to her as the glory years of a free 20-30 year old began to close, being closer to family as a grown up so to speak, was on my heart.
Needless to say, three years ago, when she decided to make the move to California, I was heartbroken and still cry when I think about not being close Nanna physically, yet I did my best to lift my head and be happy for her new adventure. I mean who am I at 40 to dictate where and how anyone finds happiness let alone my dearest grandmother who in her eighties now, has spent her life in service to others and not just her family. Yet, inside I was a brat stomping my feet demanding I get my way, attached like my four year old self who didn't understand why she would leave ME after all these years.
The last eight days we have spent here with Nanna this time, has been a new look into her life, one I've seen before but now observe, with new perspective. She goes out to the city with friends for dinner and music, she dances, she's the tennis queen, cooking master and overall Jill of all trades at the young age of eighty-three. Acting club, dancing club, HOA chair person, writes for the community paper , and is the hostess that hosts the most extravagant brunches; she lives a full life.
And it was at dinner the second or third night here when watching her dancing with a gentleman, out at supper that I saw things differently. The joy in her eyes when she danced and interacted with her friends suddenly had me close to tears. It hit me like an ocean wave I wasn't expecting. She is happy here, happier than I have seen her in a long time. There is joy in her heart and so much healing has happened for her being here, in community, in warm weather close to the ocean. The same place I came when I needed to heal, to find community, joy and healing by the ocean, which, was life changing for me. Why would I resist one fraction of that for my sweet Grandmother who has created a home for our family regardless of location for over forty years.
A common saying is, home is where the heart is. Today, I'm saying home is where, and when my love for someone far exceeds my need to have my way. Home is where you find peace, joy, happiness and comfort, and sometimes that means your heart gets to stretch and expand, miles and oceans to cover it all.