I think I’ve only participated in this meme once before, quite some time ago. I found out about Take This Tune from Trav’s blog, but he refers everyone to Jamie, who started it. If you want to participate, head to Jamie’s link for the scoop.
The theme is “Feels Like Home,” a song by Randy Newman. The goal of the meme is to take Jamie’s musical prompt and tell a story in whatever way suits your storytelling. The title reminded me of something, so I thought I would try to share . . .
My granddaughter moved in with me when she was five and a half years old. It was one month before her mother passed away. For that month, the move was gradual, just her bed, some clothing, and her favorite stuffed buddy. Everything else stayed with her mother because we would go there everyday to help with my daughter’s medical routines.
When my daughter passed away, the rest of my granddaughter’s things were moved into my house. My husband and I had a spare bedroom that we had turned into his den, but the recliner and TV were moved out and the room turned into my granddaughter’s bedroom. Her toys, her curtains, the area rug from her mother’s apartment were all set up in her new place.
Transition under the best of circumstances can be a challenge, but under such tragic conditions, it proved to be a lot more work.
GN cried and cried. Not only was her mother gone, but she was uprooted, albeit only one long block, to live in a new home. She was so little and could only relate to loss and change. She had to go to her first day of Kindergarten without her mom.
One image burned into my heart is of my wee little granddaughter standing inside my house facing the front door with her arms outstretched and sobbing. When I asked her what was wrong, her response came without eye contact. “I JUST WANT TO GO HOME!”
From that moment forward, I tried to make it my goal to help her finally accept my home as hers. It took over four years. It didn’t come without hurdles. My granddaughter didn’t actually want to be there. I couldn’t blame her. All her memories were tied up in a different place.
So . . . we set about making new memories tied to her new place and then I just had to wait. She needed those memories to be repeated often enough to establish some traditions. She needed something reliable again. I guess everything eventually became reliable enough.
Without her telling me, I knew when her heart had softened to her transition. One day, she looked at the calendar and announced: “It’s our House Birthday, Gram!”
I was puzzled.
GN: It’s our House Birthday, Grammy. The date is the same as our address!
I seized the opportunity.
Gram: What do you think we should do, Honey?
GN: We should have a party to celebrate the date matching our address.
Gram: Why should we do that, Sweetie?
GN: Because it’s our home!
Gram: Your’s too?
GN: Yes, Grammy. It feels like home.
So each year since then, we’ve celebrated our House Birthday. All the better that is was her idea and not something else forced on her. We still buy a house gift and then have a house party . . . but in my heart, I know that it finally ‘feels like home’ to her.
This summer, we need to make a change to that home. The little girl who lost her mother just before she started Kindergarten, will be heading to high school in the fall. Her bedroom is going to get a makeover. GN has been collecting paint swatches and magazine photos for a while. It’s a good sign that it still feels like home to her.