TBB needs a homelife.
The kids are grown, off on their own work now. Mom is still around and facing health challenges, but she is becoming more someone to take care of than someone to take care of TBB. And friends are thin on the ground, between the area losing energy and TBB spending so much time away at sea, making it almost impossible to maintain old networks and build new connections.
She needs a new life. Someplace where she can have a friend to go out with, activities to engage in, things to engage and stimulate her. Her work family is great, but they are only a work family, held together by proximity and not shared affiliations.
I feel for her, I do.
But as I sit here, in this basement, I wonder if I ever really had a homelife.
The people I remember are all work colleagues, no matter what relationship I had with them. And those memories are very old now, even if they are still in the front of my mind.
My family has always been work to me. My parents and my brother and sister have never been safe space for me, never made me feel protected and taken care of. It has always been my job to do that for them.
And I never built a home for myself and my own family. I was too involved in my parents family. Neither did my sister, for that matter, though she did try.
TBB notes that I don’t tend to tell stories on our phone calls. Part of that, of course, is that I tell my stories on this blog, which she receives are more formal and cerebral messages, but the other part is that I have no other stories. I live alone and apart in a way that most people just could never tolerate.
“You played alone a lot as a kid, didn’t you?” one friend asked me in freshman year of college when she was taking childhood growth & development.
I did everything alone. Sometimes my life felt like the forbidden experiment, the one where you raise a child without any social inputs just to see what in childhood growth & development is nature and what is nurture. Of course, I did have lots of social inputs, it’s just that they were challenging ones, ones that affirmed rational thought and caretaking.
It’s no wonder why my parents wouldn’t accept any other carer than me. I was the only one with decades of training. It’s why I knew how to get my mother out of bed with a performance of “Hello Dolly!” a trick that astounded her aide.
Now, nearing the end of my sixth decade, I have the challenge of building myself some kind of homelife, transcending my history and creating something new.
Seems kind of a heavy lift from where I sit. The amount I don’t know about making a home, building connections, trusting friends, being part of a network is vast.
I know that TBB will find a new homelife. I know this because she has done it before and will do it again, because even with her losses she retains the skills. And I also know that however much kids work to create separate lives and learn to create their own homelife in their twenties, your parents are always your parents, there in the fabric of you.
There will be new chapters for TBB because she has the habits and has invested well.
For me, though?