Author’s Note: I wrote this in a frenzy and I did not stop. This is a stream of consciousness of me trying to reconcile, understand and come to terms with the fact my childhood home is gone. For those who know me, they know emoting is something I do not do well. So I tried to write it all down. It won’t make much sense, at least I don’t think so. But it helped me? So maybe that is something. Maybe you can gleam something from it, maybe nothing at all, but I needed to write something.
Good luck reading this. Apologies for the possible confusion and frustration to ensue.
I have no idea how to start this blog. Literally no idea. I have been trying to find the right words for days, but no matter what kind of artistic way I try to formulate my emotions, nothing seems to stick.
It all comes back to just one word. One, singular word.
Is it where the heart is? Is it where everything is sweet? Is there no other place like it?
There are no answers. Home is a completely subjective thing. There is no dictionary definition to what “Home” means to anyone.
So how do you say goodbye to something you don’t even know how to describe? How do you move on from a tangible thing that has all the intangible qualities?
Rather than try and figure out the right words to say goodbye, I have decided to take a cop out.
I am not saying goodbye.
My parents have a new home.
My mom and dad have sold the house where they raised myself and my three sisters in for the majority of our childhoods. It was the place for innumerable amount of first experiences, lessons learned and priceless memories. For my mom, she is not only moving from the place where she raised us, but she is leaving the place where she grew up. My parents bought the house on Dublin Hill Road from my grandparents, my mom’s parents. The house was built by my grandfather and stayed in the family for the entirety of its existence. Till now.
And here is my take. Moving on is okay. In fact, it is a good thing. And for my parents, it is exactly what they deserve.
I am immensely proud and happy for my parents. They deserve to move on from the unseen weight of that house. For years my parents carried the burden of raising four children, financially supporting us and being uncommonly unselfish with their time and desires. I understand that being a parent takes sacrifice, but just because it is expected and necessary doesn’t mean it its commendable and heroic. In my eyes, my parents leaving Dublin Hill Road is them moving on from some of the responsibilities they still burden themselves with. In my heart, my parents are now able to move on and be selfish for a change. They will be able to live for themselves. They will be able to say “No.” when asked to do things that’d take egregious amount of time and effort.
Now to those who know me, that idea of relishing free time by relaxing is a foreign concept. My parents, like myself, are not great at sitting still. My parents will be bustling and making projects of their own to do, but that is what I am most excited for on their behalf. They will be able to take care of their own projects. They will be able to follow their own passions rather than make time to ensure everyone else has their things in order. They will be able to have personal time; time to be productively selfish.
Now I have gotten thus far without even saying where my parents are moving to. That seems rather foolish, so I should do so now.
My parents are moving down to Florida full-time. They will be living in the same condo complex as my mom’s parents, the same that raised her in the home my parents just vacated. They will be living one floor above my grandmother and grandfather. One set of stairs separating them from one another.
Nearly 15 years ago now, if I had to guess, my mom’s parents moved down to Florida. At first it was just for summers, but eventually it was full-time. I can remember when they drove around the circular driveaway of Dublin Hill Road for the last time as Connecticut residents, and it was one of the few times I can remember my mom being emotional. The image has stuck with me because like myself, my mom tends to hold in her more expressive moments and box them up. We work through our emotions, literally, by never stopping to sit still and allow ourselves to breath. Is it healthy? Probably not. But it is who we are.
For my dad, this move has to be gut-wrenchingly complicated. My dad has been dreaming of this for a long time. Ever since though bought the condo and began spending more time down there, it has been at the forefront of his mind. But what has to make this permanent decision is that fact that almost his entire immediate family still lives in the immediate Southbury area. Now he is leaving the “homeland” to enjoy himself. And I freaking love it for him.
This is a delicate wire-act for me to walk but I genuinely am happy that he is able to break the mold from what his family has historically been and take an adventurous decision. My dad is making this decision for himself and his happiness, and I won’t put up with anyone saying he is abandoning his post. People need to be able to create their own new adventures rather than relying on the stones that have been beaten up and tread upon infinite times. He will create his own current and waves of experiences rather than revisiting the same ones relentlessly.
Alright. I have entered the stage of my word vomjust worked it where I have lost all sense of what this writing was meant to be about. My parents maybe reading this right now and shaking their heads out of bewilderment and, dare I say, maybe even disagreement. But that is okay. These lost words and thoughts are strictly my own.
Now lets recenter quickly. My parents have moved to Florida full-time. Now the entire Stanko clan is spread out. Never would I have thought that I would be the sole soul living in Connecticut. Martha is in New Jersey, Wendy is in Minnesota and Sophie is in Maryland. The Stanko name is not only habituated in the Fairfield County. We are expanding our experiences and learning through trials and tribulations. We are experiencing life outside of the safety net that we grew up entangled in.
Truth be told I am lost writing this. I was not distraught when I heard my parents were selling the house. I was only happy for them. I don’t say this to appear like I better than anyone or beyond reproach. I wish I had the visceral reaction of losing something divine.
After I heard the news, I immediately worked out and then just drove to my friend’s house (as previously planned) and just started watching and talking sports. I only allowed myself to think on it for five minutes in the car, and that was all. Now I am writing this and completely unable to try and understand my own emotions about it.
Just a day ago I drove up the driveway again. I took my girlfriend on a drive around my hometown and took the left-hand turn onto Dublin Hill Road not knowing what I was going to do. The blue realtor sign was still up as I approached the drive, swaying in the chilling wind of an overwarm November. She asked me if anyone was there, and I replied honestly that I did not know.
I took the right-hand turn into the familiar drive and felt the brief pavement under the tires before the rocks began gargling underneath the rubber. The brief spit of pebbles fell behind my car as my tired gripped the texture of the brief incline. I pushed the accelerator and came upon the familiar fork. Left was the house of my old neighbors, to which I haven’t spoken too, ever. I veered by wheel to the right and came upon the second familiar decision. The circular driveway that circles my old home was the best thing any UPS driver of plow-person ever could imagine. Now I pulled up to the decision I had made unconsciously made hundreds of times before; whether to go left or right at the start of the circle.
As I felt my hand lean left on the wheel and as I saw the headlights bleed over the edge of the house, I felt, something. I don’t know what. It wasn’t a panic of trespassing for I had surveyed there was no cars in parked anywhere and there were no lights on. It wasn’t happiness to see my childhood home again, possibly for one final time. Rather now looking back, I think there was a tinge of fear; fear that I would allow myself to realize what I was doing. I felt myself starting to go faster around the driveway as I was quickly pointing out silly things to my girlfriend. When I passed underneath the motion light I remember my girlfriend asking if it was weird being back, and I quickly answered “No.” without even thinking. I was only reacting. As I turned around to the back of the house and felt the grass areas of the driveway roll underneath me, all I wanted to do was speed past the island and flagpole and leave the driveway and the house in the dark.
If I were to self-diagnosis myself it’s probably the subconscious fear that my immediate safety net is gone. The devil’s advocate in me would say that I enjoy being independent and I am fairly self-reliable. But there is that little something, like one of the driveway rocks being stuck in your shoe, that will nag. In my own ways I have grown accustomed to dealing with these rocks (a symbol for vulnerable emotions for those not picking up what I am throwing down) in my shoes. Like my mom I will keep myself busy and ensure to persevere through whatever is possibly eating at me. I will tighten my shoe and throw on another sock to make sure this pebble doesn’t affect what must be done.
Maybe the fear I was feeling was that I wanted to take off my shoe last night. Maybe the fear was that I wanted to see what the rock that was rumbling around my foot really looked like. Maybe I wanted to know how it would feel to hold that rock and explore it. But in classic Stanko fashion, I just quickened the pace and the previable rock in my shoe was forgotten. And this is where if I was a clever writer, I’d compare how when I am barefoot and I have to traverse an undesirable surface (say a large amount of loose rocks), my gut reaction is run to get the possibility of pain over with. Sometimes I can run fast enough where I don’t even register the sharpness of what I am feeling.
This entire thing is a stream of consciousness, so if you are reading this little bit at the end…I don’t know what to tell you. I am not well versed in expressing myself vocally, so now I just type until my computer says its dying and my eyes start to blur. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to start writing something profound and deep, but I am just not that talented in making something precise and concise. Maybe someday I will be, but today, this day, I am just writing what I feel and what I know.
What I do know is that I will miss Dublin Hill Road. I will miss seeing my mom in the kitchen window when driving up and I’ll miss seeing my dad pull into the garage when he got home from work. I’ll miss seeing Wendy hog the fire. I’ll miss Martha being wrapped up in as many blankets on possible on the couch and I’ll miss Sophie whipping up whatever wizardry in the oven.
But that is why I am not saying goodbye to my home. I have all these memories and images in my head, and they are not going anywhere. I will remember Dublin Hill fondly, but I am never going to say goodbye. For better or for worse, There is no saying goodbye to the experiences that shaped who I have become today. I am proud of them, and I am thankfully to my parents for providing those experiences.