one word {april twenty-two}


If you wrote a post for this month’s check-in, I invite you to join the One Word party, share in Comments below, or reflect on your own–whatever works.

I’m just glad you’re here! 

I set myself up, I think. An April Fool’s on me, of sorts.

I’d expected April to feel spacious, you see. I thought I’d harness some making time…creative time…I thought Id get to some of those projects + plans + things in the wings.

(Temporary housing should foster that, no? A little less managing, a little more…space?)

What I’m actually feeling is timelessness though. Suspension, maybe. The Muppets come to mind:

I have been Engaged in April–just not in the annual reflection I talked about here.

(News! Our home is officially sold and–relief!–has a bright future in store. We’re also under contract in Westfield with a closing date mid-May.)

So, lots of engaging in real estate. My lookbook, though, was looking…unlikely. Until retreat weekend, that is! Which wrapped up yesterday:

It’s not finished yet–I’m still completing a couple of pages before hand-sewing together.

A few of them:

Approaching this annual ‘look’ with scissor-paper-paste…versus pencil (for a change!)…has gleaned more play–and less plan. It’s been a little messy, a lot unhurried. In taking my time while retreating, I had the luxury to pause. A few times, I found myself with a word in one hand, glue stick in the other, and I stopped to say, No, actually. This isn’t me, now. What I was holding was a narrative. A word that might’ve described me at a different time…a month ago. Five years ago. More.

But now? Not so much.

It’s a true look at Me. Now. At 47 years old, tomorrow.

A deep-seated homebody, it’s been…kind of surprising…to watch myself let go of home as an address.

In 1984, my family moved across town, out of the only house I’d ever known. I’ll tell you, the attachment was fierce. Our first night in the new house, I cried and cried in my bed. When my mom tucked me in and asked what was wrong, I said, in all my sloppiness, I-I-I want to go home

We are home, she said. Home is wherever our family is.

Quick thinking–I’ll hand it to her.

But I didn’t buy it.

1978, standing on that brown carpet

I wanted home. The yellow house. My play kitchen and pink flowered wallpper. Leah up the street. Tar bubbles on our street in summer. The funny brown carpet I pulled apart where it was left unbound on an edge. The window at the end of the upstairs hall where my mom called us in from kickball for baths. The back porch steps where I sat to eat Bison blueberry yogurt. The trio of birch my dad planted in the yard and the deep front porch where he had Friday drinks with Gary.

That was home.

And that’s pretty much how I attach to a space. Deeply and with all my heart.

But in the past year, for whatever reasons…we’re tended by the universe?…I’ve been saying out loud that home feels with me wherever I go.

(The sea turtle!)

Those who know me best will question who wrote this…but…in a way, home is wherever I click on Chrome: It’s got my writing, my yoga login, Spotify, credit card. Not all of the ways I connect with others–and with myself. But some. Some of the ways.

I feel a homecoming, of sorts, each time I sit down to write. The places and spaces and people and time. I drive past that house–no longer yellow–every summer. (Soon I’ll live less than a mile from it.) And it’s not the house, of course, that holds the memory. It’s me. My family. Our friends + neighbors, people we’ve loved, some still here, some gone.

And it’ll be the same with Yarrow Street. With all the things. All the people and places and spaces.

There will be tears, for sure. But not like the first time. I’ve loosened my grip on what I call home. I’ve engaged imagination. Opened up to what’s possible (even when it’s hard).

Now. Don’t get me wrong.

Despite all this turtle talk, it’ll be good and joyful…a welcome adventure…to settle in to a brick + mortar home sometime this summer. (And I mean sometime! A move-in date as late as mid-August is possible.) But as I worked through my lookbook of me, now, I can see I’m Engaged and Grounded despite transition, uprooting. I can see how my sense of who I am comes less from where I am or what I have. (Less than I would have thought.) (Less, even, than a few years ago.)

In some ways, I see the little girl me on the porch of our yellow house; I see newly married me opening the door on Yarrow for the very first time, and the 20 years’ married-mother of 3-me closing it for the last.

And in these pages I see me, now…a me I’m just getting to know in some ways. And, y’know? I think I’m kinda delighted.

22 thoughts on “one word {april twenty-two}

  1. Happy Birthday! That lookbook project seems like so much fun; I’m glad you were still able to go on a retreat despite how busy things are for you.

    Beautiful post. I love how much writing and connecting with your thoughts allows you to feel at home, no matter how unsettled things become. Congrats on selling your house and being close to finding another place!


    1. Thank you so much, Katie! The lookbook was a real change of pace for me. To let my process be messy for a couple of days felt like a great big gift to myself. And to come out of it with something colorful and imperfect, without many straight lines or clean corners, is the kind of mental space I’m going to welcome more of into my life!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Happy Birthday and wonderful news on the house front. So good that you got to make your lookbook. I loved the pictures in this post. You were a cute little girl for sure. Can I just say thank you for this link up, really helps.


    1. Thank you, Cathy! That lookbook has been so much fun to put together, and it felt so good to just be messy and not worry about making things look perfect. I’m starting to think it could be a fun thing to do each year around my birthday.
      So glad you’ve joined the link-up!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. First, congratulations on the sale and happy birthday to you! Those are both very good reasons to celebrate today!

    I was getting a lot of Feelings reading about your experience moving as a child. I lived in the same house my whole life until I moved in with my husband, but when my parents decided to sell that house and move into a townhouse, I had some trouble with it — and, to be honest, I still think of that house as *my* house when I drive by it (which is fairly often, because my brother and sister-in-law ended up buying a house up the street). I often dream about being in it again, too. I think that when we are children, home is very much a physical place. As we get older, though, I think we do get to that realization that home is wherever we are with the people we love and who love us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sarah! What a fascinating perspective that gives you, with your brother and sister-in-law right down the street from your childhood home. You know, I’ve wondered on and off if I would ever want to go back in the house I grew up in, and I’m pretty certain that answer is no. I don’t want to imagine or remember it in any other way! I say that–though if I drove past and there was an open house sign and balloons, I’d probably be hard-pressed not to stop 🙂


  4. Happy Birthday to you, Carolyn! And YAY for the sale and purchase of homes! Stressful things, to be sure!

    Perhaps my less than perfect parents did actually give me something profound… we moved 17 times before I was 13 and so from a very early age my concept of home has really never been tied to a building. I never considered that at all before, thank you so much for that little a-ha moment!

    I am eager to imagine you so near to me! 🙂 I hope this week is overflowing with all the good things!


    1. That makes for so much interesting reflection, doesn’t it? The things we would not think of it as gifts, necessarily… Resilience is a topic that fascinates me. This opens up the door to so much more than I should leave in a comment section, but I can imagine a Lake Erie walk & talk together one day! Did you map it? Did you see how close!? xo


    1. I must be mixed up! I thought you were birthday is April 27th. Mine is tomorrow, April 26th. Have I made a mistake? I thought we were one day apart…?


  5. Happy Birthday. Look at the world today. The only thing we can count on is change and I continue to be surprised by it.


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