Gran's Apple Butter Blog

July 26, 2010

1/I: Mikey’s Story

Filed under: Death,Feeling Homesick,Going Home,Grown-Up Standards,Life Journeys,Loss,Mikey,One Real Home,Self Development — Mary Batson - FrontPorchRambles @ 2:55 pm

Chapter 1. Mikey’s Story
Excerpt from Going Home, by Mary Batson

“There are two ways of spreading light: To be the candle or the mirror that receives it.” – Edith Wharton

Sooner or later, we all want to go home. At least that’s what my grandma says. At first I wasn’t quite sure what she meant by that. And just when I thought I had it all figured out, I found out she was talking about something totally different. But maybe she’s right. Maybe I’m remembering wrong. Maybe. Maybe not.

You see, it’s not that complicated. I mean, I’m only five years old, which by grown-up standards (and there are So Many Grown-Up Standards) means I still have a lot to learn. But even I get this. Sometimes, I think I get it better than most grown-ups. But I try to be patient. Most of the grown-ups I know have a Lot on Their Minds. They have a Lot of Balls In The Air. At first I thought that meant some kind of game, but I’m beginning to suspect otherwise now. They tell me I’ll learn about this before long. I don’t think I’m looking forward to it.

But I know about Going Home. I know because I was there not too long ago. And I can remember it. The feeling. The knowing. The Love. And it seems so sad and strange to me, that all the grown-ups here have forgotten the Truth. It’s like forgetting your own address. How could you forget your o-w-n address? Isn’t that why you have your name written in the back of your jacket and on your lunch box and in your Under-Roos? So you don’t forget? Don’t grown-ups wear Under-Roos? Carry lunchboxes? Heck, some of ’em carry around great big books and stuff that I don’t even know what it’s called. Surely they have their address written down in there, just in case? Have they really forgotten their address, their way Home? Have you?

Ok, I’ll admit, I don’t know you. I’ll probably never meet you. And if I do, I probably won’t talk to you, ‘cause my grandma told me to never talk to strangers. I think that r-u-l-e is a little strange, if you ask me, because to me, no one feels like a stranger. How can they, when we are all really just One? But Gran has explained (over and over again!) that while I’m with this family, even though she and I know the truth, I still have to learn How Things Work Here. Truth is, there are no strangers here, she’d say, just friends we haven’t met yet. But for now, apparently, Here one Doesn’t Talk To Strangers. Gran says her grandmother taught her this when she was my age. Ok. Well, I don’t really get it, but I can go along with that. Just seems kinda sad. And lonely.

There’s something else I don’t understand. Here it seems like everyone is so sad when someone Goes Home. I’ve seen it happen, in my own house, when Grandpa Harry Went Home. And my bus driver. And the lady next door with the calico cat. It seems like when this happens everyone cries and cries. I try hard to help people feel better, but when I tell them that it is a GOOD thing to Go Home, that it is something to celebrate like my next birthday (you’re invited, by the way), they just look at me and kind of breathe heavy and pat my head and say things like “Someday you’ll understand.”

But that’s not true. I already understand. I do. I DO. It’s everyone else who doesn’t. Some of my friends do. We talk about how strange grown-ups are sometimes. How they seem to have everything backwards. They laugh when they should cry, and cry when they should laugh. They do all kinds of crazy things that a-n-y-one should know better, and then wonder why things turn out like they do. Like working too much. Of COURSE you get sick if you work all the time. Duh. Even I know that. And I’m only five.

Some grown-ups do seem to know a bit more about How Things Really Are. Like my grandma. She’s pretty cool. She knows A Lot. Like she knows about wanting to Go Home. See, I didn’t really understand that, because I was JUST home — so I’m not in a hurry to go back. I’m ready for a Big Adventure! But Gran says that when someone has been adventuring for a grand long time, sooner or later they’ll get tired, and they’ll start missing Home.

You know, they miss all the good stuff Home stands for. Like warm blankets and soft pillows and fresh cookies and hot chocolate and love everywhere around and red mittens and fingerprints on windows. Like admiring the fresh snow out the front window and watching your dad come around the corner of the house, tramping out a path to the mailbox. Like sitting in the kitchen floor, industriously rearranging one’s car collection, making paths through the flour that sifts to the baseboards from the snickerdoodle production taking place at countertop level. Like taking the scraps out after dinner and turning around to see the Lights in the Windows and that warm feeling that starts in your tummy and goes all through your insides when you think of hurrying back in. Like watching for car lights coming down the dirt road when it’s dinner time and you’ve claimed the wishbone and are just WAITING for everyone to get home so you can find out Who Will Be Lucky Tonight.

You know, that kind of stuff. The Important Stuff.

But that’s not all. There are different kinds of Homes and different kinds of warm fuzzy feelings. Well, that’s not quite right. There a-r-e different kinds of Homes. But you know that fuzzy feeling? It’s the same for all Homes. It feels the same, it tastes the same, it means the same, ‘cause it all comes from the same place. Even with all the different kinds of homes, it all gets back to One Very Own Home. And all the other kinds of homes are like strings of paper snowflakes that are very pretty and Good to Decorate With, but they’re not really Snow. They just REMIND us of Snow, like all these other kinds of homes remind us of our One Real Home. Kinda like funhouse mirrors.

So that’s why Gran says that when people are away from home for a long time, or when they start feeling bad, like when I ate too many chocolate turtles at Jonah’s house, or the very first time I had a sleepover at my cousin’s (the time she stole all the blankets and wouldn’t share her LiteBrite), that we get a different kind of fuzzy feeling — a not-very-nice fuzzy feeling. Gran called it “Feeling Homesick.” And she said that sometimes, when you feel Homesick, nothing else will do but to Go Home. For me, as soon as I saw Mom and my own little house, I felt 100% better.

But Gran explained that when people Go Home, it’s a little more complicated. Well, it’s kind of the same. You know, that person just Isn’t There anymore. Like when I went home from Jonah’s. I just wasn’t there anymore. And when grown-ups go home, it’s kinda the same. I mean, your body isn’t There. That would be kind of silly. A body without you in it? How weird would that be?!? And yet, at the same time, YOU are still there. Just in a different way. Really, kinda, you’re EVERYWHERE. And you can go everywhere and do everything and see everything and be everywhere. All in the very same second, maybe! I’m not sure on that one.

But I know that you’re still There (and by that I mean Here), because Grandpa told me so. Right after he Went Home, he told me. We had a big talk about it, and it was so great, because finally I had a grown-up to talk to who knew all about Home! I asked him all kinds of questions, if everything was still like I remembered it, and he said it was, and even Better Than Ever. That was pretty cool. I wanted to tell Gran about his visit, but he told me that she might not understand and he didn’t want her to be worried, so I just told her I had a dream about him and about Home and how great it all was. And she was so happy, and smiling, and gave me a big hug, and she had a strange little twinkle in her eyes that made me wonder if maybe she knew a little bit more about Home than Grandpa thought she did.

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010. All rights reserved.
Download Chapter 1 or order your copy at!


1 Comment »

  1. […] Or as Gran put it, “…breakdowns become breakthroughs become breaks of day.” (Going Home, 2010)   And for those new to that metaphor, here’s an brief intro. It’s happening […]

    Pingback by Evolutionary Drivers At Work | marybatson — February 5, 2017 @ 9:20 am | Reply

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