As a freshman in college, going home for the long weekend in October was out of desperation for the need to be taken care of; it was to have my parents feed me, do my laundry, and most importantly – tell me everything was going to be okay. It was a reminder that while I am doing this really big thing and had gained a lot of independence really quickly, I could always come home to see the leaves change. Those couple of days were good for the soul.
And now as I’m in my final semester of college, those few days felt just as important. The weekend was different because while I know I have undergone significant change, it’s not always apparent to me that my home and the people there are changing too. Life looks a lot different for all us now. It is in the simplest facts. I make my own bed now. I babysit for my baby cousin born just this year. I have to speak a little louder for my grandmother to hear me. And I have a new favorite place to get a morning bagel.
It’s oddly comforting to find that home has changed. I’ve struggled with home and feeling like I couldn’t identify with it anymore because of how much I have changed. It felt like Maine hadn’t changed and going back felt like making no personal progress at all. But, it was different this weekend. Different in that I got to see how I’ve changed, how the people closest to me have changed, and the place I’ve called home my entire life has changed. But it was all in the best way. In so many ways, it felt like we’ve all changed to better suit each other. This weekend, Maine felt more like home than it ever has.
And while I talk about all this change, it feels odd to talk about it in the context of home. Home is meant to be familiar and so much of it is still for me. It still has the comfort of seeing my friend’s parents at the pizza shop or running into my sophomore year French teacher at a farm. I can still talk to these people who shaped home for me, as if we’ve never lost touch. Yes, there is so much to catch them up on, but it’s the ease with which I can tell them that assures me we’ve never drifted too far apart.
I think it’s perfectly timed that I get to rejoice in a weekend home every Fall as the leaves are changing. Home is the leaves on the tree – bound to change from year-to-year. There’s a duel-sided comfort of knowing that change is possible and unstoppable but also it’s familiar. It’s part of the cycle of life and something we can always count on. I’m so grateful for those bright hues of Autumn I snapped from the car as I drove back to Boston.