I never really gave much thought to what home would feel like. As a child, it was where my three brothers, my sister and I laid our heads. It is where we argued and laughed. It is where we more than likely, called my dear mother one too many times at work. We spent too many minutes asking her to referee and hustling for her ear for a common complaint. If a description need be, home is where it felt chaotic and safe all at once.
I was a teenager when my brother had his first baby. The surprise pregnancy of a girlfriend I barely knew felt as if someone took a blade and cut it so deep I felt nothing. Until… I felt it all at once. Those unfamiliar tingles that rise up and slow down, the ones that cause lumps in our throats and edged knuckles in heat, told me I had been robbed of something. The thief had brown skin like butter, a delicious sweaty neck, and rolled up ankles that caught faints of lint after a long summer’s day. He, in all his newborn glory reshaped my version of home. He opened up a door that was unknown to me at that age.
After one baby came the next, then another brother moved out and got a serious girlfriend, then another. I’m not sure if in that order, but it happened nevertheless. Then my sister. Then me. Within 12 years, collectively, we developed our own little families, careers and dreams. We moved across state lines, and found the use of smart phone advances particularly necessary in our connectivity.
Stubbornly so, my dream of that large house where we all raise our babies still treads on. Somehow, in hopes of its fruition, I’ve overlooked the privilege of having a few of my siblings and their babies right here in this city. I knew they were here. We’ve spent time, but the gravity of their presence escaped me.
To have them here is an enormous privilege. No, there is no large house for our children to run through, or call us from, one too many times in the day during the tireless hours of our work. But there is growth and adventure. There are cousins, lots of them, actually. That baby, and the events that unfolded with my family thereafter, taught me that home is not specific to one period in time or specific persons. Eventually, he became home as I knew it. His mother too. And what a joy it is to watch them all grow together and apart. A privilege I won’t take for granted again.