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May 13, 2011 / paperkids

back home

There is something I need to tell you.  There is something I need to tell myself.  But how to tell it?  And what to tell?  I wish I knew what  and I wish I knew how.  Already this all sounds so dramatic!

Basically, I have two homes…meaning I live in two places and have for a very long time now.  Not that I actually have two houses (I wish!), but I have two homes in my heart and I feel as though I exist somewhere in between them.  But since a person can’t actually live in two places nor have two lives at once like in that Sliding Doors movie, a choice must always be made – a path must be chosen.  But how?

I live in two places…

I live in a sun swept desert valley with rolling hills that turn green in rainy winter months.  My valley is just close enough to the vibrant energy of Hollywood with its unique palm tree and billboard plastered rolling hills; houses sprinkled all about as they drape the city.  Yet we are far away enough that it feels like a haven away from the crowded tangle of rundown freeways, the pretentious and the desperate, and a culture that fuels the flames of new trendy spots yet stokes the embers of those old school venues and neighborhoods to burn as hot as they were fifty years ago  because, after all, they are what give flesh to the bones of  LA.  The city is electric with small music theaters and hip cafes.   It doesn’t get better than seeing a band jam in one of those tiny venues in a  sketchy part of Hollywood, so close you can almost touch them.  Yet the city is surrounded by  natural beauty of  oceans, vineyards, mountains and even snow.

Just outside the city, our home is past the point where those that do live in the city, may feel as though they have driven too far and surely nothing could possibly exist outside  of Los Angeles.   So it’s nice to come home after a fun night out in the city with friends, roll onto the exit in our mini-van, and welcome back our life in the squeaky clean, ultra suburban bubble of safeness where we live, also referred to as “Awesometown” by its residents (totally not kidding!).  Basically this is where lots of people move when they still live and work in the city, but want to raise a family.  The schools are great, great services if you have special needs children with lots of regional center funding, and it’s as pristine as a city can get carved out of what is essentially the desert. …

But of course all those things are not what have me calling this place “home”.   That reason would be reserved for that life force that has me feeling like life here is worth any insanity or hardship – my friends.  We have become much more than friends, but rather like family, spending holidays together and meeting up for coffee or out for drinks.  Despite the fact that we are all so different, I pick up their gestures and little ways of speaking.  I laugh so hard with them and confide so much in them.  We are fighting for each other and holding on to each other for dear life.  We are in this together!  Without them, I’m not sure who I would even be.

And then there are dreams here which were made just for a misfit like me … a potential that exists here  that is hard to resist contemplating.  And despite the fact that you feel like you have next to no chance at being or doing anything special, being here makes you see the possibilities like no place else.   They seem limitless.  LA may be lacking in fresh air, but idealism is  in very great supply.

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I live in two places…

I live in a warm, damp flat land with white sandy beaches and thick muggy marsh.  The air is heavy, but the weight of it is sweetly familiar and grounding.  The smell of earth rises up all around and the skies are clean with puffy white clouds that roll and darken, eventually letting down a torrent of rain and lightening that energizes the air.  My skin feels alive and breathing.  The waves of the gulf coast are mild and warm and have been with me since my earliest memories.  The pace is slower, people are friendly and natural – wild even – and no one seems to care what you do or who you are.   Life seems more a series of work weeks and  time off.   Although nothing too glamorous nor too overwhelming, it tends to feel just right,  like luke warm water the exact temperature of your skin.  There are no big benefits financially or state funded therapies for the kids in this state like in CA, which was part of the reason for the leave before, but it holds the promise of a more simplistic family life, which I’ve had a hard time building.  The appeal of this sub-tropic wilderness with plenty of retirees and lack of a swanky, bustling metropolis,  isn’t always understood by everyone.  You’d have to live it to really appreciate it.  It isn’t for everyone, but for us, it’s always represented a more calming life that is hard to explain.  Everything feels just a little quieter.   The night is filled with the sound of crickets and frogs and the stars shine bright from the open windows of my parents house in the country.  The grass is wet with dew and mist in the early mornings and the thick woods are alive with all kinds of creatures.

But it isn’t so much about the fact that I was raised in Florida or the beaches or unique beauty, but more about  family.  Having two kids with autism, I long dearly to give them as typical and calm a life as I possibly can muster.  I’m not sure I know what one is myself, but my parents provide a little extra sanity and support for the kids and for us.  There are so many times in this crazy life of mine, we could really use that!   Mom and dad are, after all, like second parents to Emma and Hayden.  But I know deep down that it’s much more than that.  Without my parents close, I always feel like something is missing.    Trust me, our family has it’s own set of issues, but it’s a heartbeat that flows deep and wide.  Being far away from them never gets easy as it probably should.  Maybe it’s the fact that I am now an  only child.  I wasn’t always so, but we lost my brother suddenly in an accident when he was thirteen and I fifteen.  Our family was changed forever.  It has been through so much.  That is why when I had Emma, it was like new life came into our family and what joy!  A gift from God.  Our hearts may be too intertwined, but I just don’t know another way to be in this life.
In my mind I can see the faces of my parents and feel their love.  The kids play in the water and lay around on the front porch.  My parents hold them close and a piece of my heart begins to fill.  I feel relief.  I take a breath of fresh air and exhale.

These two places are so different that you must change your whole lifestyle to adjust yourself to the environment.  You may even have to change yourself a little.  I should know, I’ve done it many times before and each time has been painful.  So how do you choose between two homes?

I actually don’t know how to and, truth be told, I have been going back and forth from these two places for the last ten years now.  Here for three, there for four, here for five and now…..

Each time we’ve moved there has been a reason, whether it be therapies for the kids, a job, a friend, or that look in my mom’s eyes that said more than words could ever say.

I pray to move forward.  I pray to not let go.  I remain somewhere in the middle.

How can I choose?

I live in two places.

Band of Horses –  On my way back home.

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5 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Tonya / May 13 2011 11:52 pm

    I hear ya……..I too live in two places….. thanks for sharning.

  2. Katie / May 14 2011 1:10 am

    You write better than I ever could. I felt that so entirely that I know understand completely your emotion with all this. Though your home… at least now… sounds like it’s there. Not an easy thing for me to say. I can’t bear how much I will miss you.

  3. MSOTS / May 15 2011 1:41 am

    This is so profoundly reflective of what I know to be a difficult place for you. I pray that God give you peace about this. To have so much love showered down on you from both friends and family – how blessed you are!

  4. Grandma / May 15 2011 6:47 am

    So often we think that we must choose, that we must do all or nothing, that our journey is black or white, either/or.
    Paradox allows for enfoldment of possibilities. What is Life asking of us? If we make a choice is the alternative lost forever? Can we change our minds? Is there another possibility? What makes us happy, gives us peace?
    I live in high desert where the sky is so blue and you can be in open space in 5 minutes. And yet I come from the place that was shown in the video above, north of San Francisco: rolling hills with roaming cows, ocean, rain. I choose to live here for the quality it gives me; the place I am from is inside me and must have my attention and I must go there at least once in a while.
    The quality of life is why I am here. The beauty is different, but it is still beauty.
    Love has no geography. It is everywhere. We don’t know what will happen.
    What gives a person peace? What feels right? Must we choose now, or can we wait?
    Do we feel a “should,” or a “want”? Where is the peace?
    As a child, on a hill, caught between the edge of the cliff and the Rattlesnake I heard a small voice tell me to be still. That moment seemed to go on forever, until the Rattlesnake slithered behind a rock, and I was free to move forward, and I knew the way to go.
    Be well, embrace your truths, all of them; you are in my prayers.
    Love to you.

  5. Rhea / Jun 5 2011 8:04 pm

    Sabra, I’m so sad to hear that you’ve left California… but at the same time I know your heart was always in Florida. I wish the best for you, Jared, and the kids. I’ll never forget the time I spent with Emma and Hayden. They will always have a special place in my heart!! Love, Rhea

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