In the story of Dorothy Gale from Kansas we learn that it was in her all along. Everything she was made to feel she lacked she discovered in herself through the developing relationships she had with these other characters who had their own reasons for wanting to meet the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz. Afterall, what is one to do without any brains, no heart and no courage? Suffice to say, they make it to the end of their very long journey and while Dorothy’s friends finally find what they felt devoid of, she feels trapped in a land that was once imagined to make all of her dreams come true but is without the comforts of home. Imagine her surprise, then, when she is told by Glinda, the Good Witch that all she had to do was click her heels together and say, “There’s No Place Like Home”. Alas, she had the power to go home all along! But you see, it wasn’t enough to say it. She first had to believe it. And had it not been for her incredible journey–the hardships, the friendships, the victories won in the face of adversity–those five simple words would not have taken on the same meaning and therefore would not have had the power to take her where she wanted to go… Home.
Home means different things to different people. Many say home is where the heart is. And certainly, my kids are my heart. But as a single mom I’m finding it is a challenge to create the kind of home I had envisioned for my family. First of all, I don’t feel like a family. And I never really have. Growing up I never did. Living with my husband and our kids I never did. Part of me questions whether I ever will. Part of me wonders if I just needed to trek down this winding road of despair before my wish could be granted. Because up until now I doubted whether family was all that important. I minimized the tremendous amount of courage it takes to create an everlasting bond between two people.
One of my dearest friends has a son who just turned 3 and today I attended his birthday party. Kids are the best, by the way. They say what they’re feeling, they do as they please; there’s no pretense. I think that’s why I generally enjoy my interactions with kids and will initiate more conversations with them. They’re simply… fascinating. When I’m around them I like to try and recall myself as a kid and imagine what they make of this world. Are they any closer to a conclusion than I? And while being included in these types of occasions brings a certain joy, there is also an angst, a longing that weighs on me almost to the point of tears. And it is due to the fact that I am completely out of my element. I am surrounded by people who genuinely love and care for each other. People who can laugh and joke; who truly enjoy being together and with such ease. No pretense. Just togetherness. There’s cooperation between husband and wife. There’s years and years of devotion. How do they do that?
For someone who grew up feeling unsure of where home was and quickly learned to disassociate themselves from everyone else, including family, I can imagine what it’s like to get a taste of what it means to be a family, to have a home, and then have it taken away as if by storm. Except that in my last relationship I offered the taste and I’m the one who took it away. And I hate that this was ever a reality at all to cause such a familiar bitterness for him. But it is what it is and I cannot be blamed for someone else’s past. Nor can I be blamed for merely following my heart. Perhaps the answers have been inside me all along and the only thing I’m guilty of is overthinking things yet again.
Certainly, the head and the heart are sometimes at odds with one another. But to find love is to find a home. One must have the courage to believe it’s real in the first place, however, and not just somewhere “out there”. In the words of Dorothy, “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard, because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”
I’m clicking my heels together, I’m saying the magic words… Dammit, where’s Glinda when you need her?