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Seats are buckled and we are off to my mother’s house in Connecticut.

We drive four blocks. Dylan pees in her car seat

We briefly contemplate whether it’s cruel to let our child sit in her drenched car seat for an hour. Although clearly the more convenient option, it somehow just doesn’t feel like good parenting. Sort of like when I look at 16 month-old Summer’s eyebrows and think, wow, they could use a good tweeze but I know that’s not appropriate. Good parenting is just something you feel in your gut.

We loop around the block.

After a change of clothes, we finally make it to my mother’s house.

Within a few weeks, she’s moving to Northampton, Massachusetts to pursue a master’s in social work. I hope it’s kind of a crunchy place because my mom is wearing these today.

So we are here for a party to celebrate her new adventure. The invitation read, “Susan (that’s my mom) and Lilly (that’s my mom’s dog) Cordially Invite You To Come Celebrate The Changing Of Our Lives, Mine, Yours, Your Families and all Sentient Beings.”

I’m still not sure of the definition of a “sentient being.” My mom often skates along on this sort of esoteric, Buddhist plain that I don’t always quite grasp.

This is my mom’s house.

We moved here when I was 14. A popular kid named Tim lived here before. And his best friend Teddy was mad as all crazy hell that his best friend moved away and I moved in.

Teddy viciously taunted me on the school bus.

He told me Tim’s dead cat was buried in the front yard.

Fortunately, Teddy is not invited to the party.

The salty smell of the Long Island Sound immediately brings back my youth. Water skiing. Roller blading. Soulful, heart destroying crushes. Real boyfriends. Sailing lessons. Cruising through town. The pursuit of the perfect fake ID. Throwing a party and having someone steal the phone off the wall. Swearing that I did not throw a party despite the missing phone and other very compelling evidence. Best friends. Breaking up with boyfriends. Leaving home. Coming home.

But there is no more coming home. My home is somewhere else now. This is me today. Kind of mopey.

But today is not about me. It’s about my 65 year-old mother who despite her fear, is moving joyfully on to the next chapter of her life.

38 Responses to coming home

  • sarah says:

    what a role model for us all. looking forward to 65 and going back to school. that said, it will most likely be henry's school of choice as i plan to follow him around for the rest of my life.

  • Jessi says:

    I don't know how to put into words what I want to say. The story of your mom is very inspirational. How amazing and awesome is she?? WOW!

    BTW, Kelc, mopey or not, you're beautiful!

  • Lanie says:

    I love your mom (and of course, you too – mopey or not). Please wish her the best of luck for me.

    Maybe your mom could work some sort of deal with the new owners that you can keep your room. . .(I am sure that you would be much nicer than Teddy :-))

  • kristen says:

    how cool that your mama is pursuing her dream. and i'm quite sure NH will be crunchy enough for socks with birks.

    why did i not know you live in the city? we're practically neighbors, except for the bridge and tunnel. sigh.

    when i see it working in the city with kiddies, i get wistful that we sold our great apartment in brooklyn for the burbs, sigh.

  • Erin says:

    Wow a Master's Degree at 65! That's awesome. I hope I'm like that at 65 full of spunk and courage. Sorry you are losing your home……

  • Alex says:

    LOVE the shot of your mom's feet! She's gonna fit in just fine at Smith. They are totally rocking the Socks and 'Stocks there.

    I know that mopey feeling you are experiencing. My mom moved out of my childhood home during my freshman year at college. The nerve of that woman! I came back that summer to a strange new home in a strange new city. Not fun. I found over time, though, that home was simply where my family congregated. I did miss going back to the place of my childhood, the setting for all of my teenage dramas and coming-of-age moments. But I carry all of that stuff around with me in my mind and in photo albums and in journals so that I can go back and visit whenever the mood strikes me. My mom has lived in 4 different houses since that summer and, even though the memories aren't there, being with her always feels like being home.

    Congrats, Susan!! Have fun with all those sentient beings!

  • Robin says:

    Kelc – have no fear. Northampton is extremely crunchy and an awesome town. She’ll love it, and so will you when you visit. We used to live 1/2 hour south of there and we went there OFTEN for dinner, or a night out or whatever. Cute shops, good restaurants (and lots of vegetarian menus), and lots of crunch. It’s kind of gay/lesbian crunch, but you don’t have to be gay to enjoy it!!! 🙂 I’m inclined to go pay your mom a visit!

  • liz says:

    is it weird if i say that i think i love your mom?

    and? northampton: crunchy as crunchy can be. including the high rents and the trust-a-farian kids with their $600 pure bred dogs on hemp leashes, begging for change before climbing into their land rovers. and as robin said: it’s not at all uncommon to see women *gasp* holding hands.

    anyhoo: i loved this post. i had these exact feelings when my mother sold her/our house in massachusetts and skipped off to arizona.

    congratulations and good luck to your mom on this amazing journey. what a treat it is to watch our mothers become their own people!

  • JoLynn says:

    Look at you all gorgeous and mopey!!!! And tell your Mom-“You go girl!!!) I hope Iam that brave when I grow up!!!

  • Abby Siegel says:

    I know how you feel. Although my parents just moved 6 months ago and stayed in Westport, they are selling our home of 31 years. When they told me they were doing this (I had no clue it was even going to happen EVER) I broke down in the middle of the street, made it home, and cried to my doorman. SERIOUSLY. The house is still on the market and when I go home I break in and walk around. It was devastating but they are happy in their new house and it’s beautiful, so I can’t complain! But to close that LONG chapter that started when I was 6 was extremely difficult. 🙂

  • Your Mom sounds like a fabulous lady and looks really happy! Cheers to her and her brave new adventure! My parents still live in my childhood home that I’ve known since 1 year old…I will cry many tears when that chapter closes – I can imagine how you must feel…

  • Melissa says:

    Your mom seriously rocks! How incredibly awesome of her to start over at this point. Lovely photo of you, too. Some gorgeous skin you have there. What’s your secret? (P.S. Several days ago, I seriously considered popping a pimple on my sweet little pre-shcooler’s face. Glad I didn’t…)

  • Jordana says:

    It may be the pregnancy hormones (or lack thereof) but this made me very weepy!! Playing Junior Trivial Pursuit with 4 year-old Quinn running around, jumping on your trampoline, whispering in the loft at sleepovers, the surprise party for someone (you?) where we all just walked up to the person, crank callls gone bad… I can’t imagine growing up without you and so many of my memories are of that house (remember the blue stage??). I guess next time you’re in town, you’ll have to sleep at Earthport – just bring an extra sweater (or 5!).


  • Portia says:

    OK Kelc,
    So I’m not pregnant and I am wailing over here because I can so relate!! My parents sold my childhood home and moved to Florida back in 1998. I balled for days! I mean a gutteral belly bawl… I will never forget sitting on our empty dining room floor the night before they left…my mom, dad, twin brother, and our 2 best friends reminiscing on all the great times we had shared in that house. I think that 25 years old was too young for my bro and I to have had such upheaval in our lives…but my parents are as happy as can be down in sunny Fla. so who am I to say that things should be different? It’s hard but life is constantly changing and so we must change right along with it. Good luck to your mom and her kitty… know that my heart is with you Kelcey during this period of evolution in your life.

  • ErinB says:

    congrats to your mom!!! she is an inspiration that life has endless possibilities no matter what phase of your life you are in. wishing her all the best-

  • Rachel W. Bernstein says:

    Your mom is amazing – what an inspiration. I’m so impressed and inspired that I’m currently putting away the tweezers (6 month old Eve’s eyebrow – only one needs it – is safe, for now)

  • holli says:

    I love your crunchy mama – and btw.. she is beautiful.. it’s obvious where you got your good looks.

    For some reason it can be really unsettling when your parents make changes because you weren’t a part of the decision making process.. but the fact that your mother is embracing this new chapter in her life is really wonderful. The memories will never leave you.

    hugs to you.


  • Aunt Marcia says:

    Better than finding the perfect ‘fake I.D.’ is having a Best Friend willing to wrestle someone to the ground and bite their tushy in defense of your honor. I still have the evidence; and will blackmail you both when the little girls grow up and want to pierce their nipples and dye their hair purple.

  • Susan says:

    I was so moved by this mama bird diary that even now it brings tears to my eyes…Kelcey’s ability to dress beautifully and look gorgeous under all circumstances; be a fantastic mother; capture with words and photos with creativity, clarity and humour even the most challenging emotional realities; and socialize gracefully and skillfully all at the same time within one day never ceases to amaze me. I also want to honor both Quinn’s and Kelcey’s and my own sadness about letting go for now of the home and thank my wonderful, smart and fashionable daughters for their unconditional encouragement of and support for their mother’s “next step”. Blessings, Susan

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kelcey kintner