Saturday, July 7, 2012
We went berry picking this morning. We arrived at a farm near our house soon after it opened at 8. I know I've mentioned this before, but I just love this city and how a ten minute drive can land one in the middle of the country with cows and berries and fields of crops.
After we picked raspberries and a few blackberries (they will be fully ripe next week) we went inside the farm store to pay. Except we didn't have cash or a check, only our cards which they were unable to process. I don't know whether to blame parenthood, or general tiredness, or the assumption that cards are used everywhere, but this is not the first time we've done this. When we bought our Christmas tree I had to wait at the tree farm while J ran to a bank so we could pay for it.
When we approached the counter with our berries and said we would be right back with cash the woman behind the register shook her head. "Oh, just mail it. Or drop it off later. Whatever works for you."
And that's the other thing I love about living here: people are so nice. There's a bit of a joke about Oregonians and four way stop signs; something about how you will wait forever gesturing the person in the car next to you on while they gesture you on which means no one goes anywhere. It's true, though. Just the other day a gentleman and I played the "you go first" game for a good thirty seconds at a junction near our house.
Aside from one year in Southern Oregon I've always lived in the Willamette Valley (which some people can't pronounce. Think that's tough? Try Champoeg on for size). Last night J and I were chatting and he said, "Maybe we should move to Britain, like we used to talk about."
That was our original plan, back when we first married. He would finish school, find a job somewhere in the UK and we would be expats for a while. But he landed a good job here and then babies came along and now we're really quite attached to this place.
My sense of home has shifted so much in such a short time. I love this house. I love our yard with its garden, the arched doorways, the hardwood floors, the tiny bathroom that can barely hold our entire family. This little house is home in a way no other place has been to me. I want a house with a little bit of acreage and a second bathroom, but we have a roof over our head and it's warm (well, hot right now) and we're quite comfortable here. And once I get comfortable it's tough to move me.
As comfortable as this home is though, there is always a lack. No matter where we go, or when, or how or why there will always be someone missing. This house will always feel a little empty. Our family will always have a space where a little girl should be growing up and learning about the world.
And her short existence in our home ties us here too. If the time ever comes, how do we leave the rooms I walked while pregnant with her? It feels like she is here in the walls, in the rooms, hovering around the perimeter of our lives, but I think that is because we carry her with us.
The concept of home is fluid. It's a term with a thousand definitions. Sometimes I'm struck by the fact that I was Charlotte's only home. She knew the womb, the earth for a moment, and then heaven. Sometimes I wonder if I was enough of a home for her, but we can't be someone's everything, can we?