This Way to Austin…

I know, I know. How clichéd is that picture? But I took it myself. I passed that sign twice every Tuesday on Franklin Street in SF, on my way to drop off and pick up August from his school. I never noticed it, of course, until Chris’ interview for the job in Austin. After that, traffic always stopped me in front of it:

“Austin! One Way!” it would exclaim to me from outside my car window. I’d laugh because, if it was God shouting at me, we both knew it was a cheesy way to do it. But still…I needed it. Austin: One Way. Okay, okay.

My mom’s car is packed. She’s driving the boys and me across this fair and large state tomorrow for our new home. Just like that. We left San Francisco five and a half weeks ago. And now we finally aim toward our home.

What is home?  I was wondering that today while I sat with my legs in the water at the community pool I grew up going to. It’s still basically the same, full of faces I vaguely recognize but don’t really have to say hello to. I watched my boy, floaties gripping his skinny arms, flinging himself through the shallow water, playing “dragon slayer” (his term) with his older boy cousins. I watched the light on the water’s surface, circles of shimmerings across their boy-legs. I love being in my hometown, remembering what childhood was like here: the prickly feeling of a thunderstorm making its way into town, the depth of the night sky, the ease of dry air in a hot summer.

My friend Kim sent me a Tim Keller quote today that said: “Home is not primarily a place, it’s a relationship.”

Place confuses me. I can’t seem to stay in one place long enough to ever feel about it how I feel about my hometown. I love many people in many different places. And my insides are all jittery about this new change. Will I be able to get used to driving everywhere again? What will I do without Trader Joes? (Really, what will I do?!) What if we never find a church we love? What if we don’t fall in love with new friends and just sit around aching for the ones far away?

But then, home is a relationship. It’s comfort, right? My 3-year-old needs some comfort: a bed to call his own, a expectation of what every day will be like, some time with his daddy. Home is family. And soon, the four of us will have each other again.

I’m moving to Austin tomorrow. See you when I get there…


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