Saturday, July 24, 2010


I flew home to Atlanta the other day from my home in Portland. This is the first time I felt Portland to be as much my hometown as Atlanta and leaving was difficult. I know I’m lucky to be able to spend so much time with my grandkids while still having a space for myself. I’m also lucky to be able to live in two incredibly beautiful cities and in two spaces I truly love.

Below are things I miss about each particular place when I'm not there.

  1. my grandchildren
  2. hanging out with my very own grown kids
  3. toys underfoot
  4. my tiny front yard that I don't have to maintain
  5. wandering around St. Johns
  6. Sauvie Island
  7. the rivers and bridges
  8. my big bathroom
  9. the weather in summer
  10. my gas fireplace (even in summer)
  11. Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens
  12. being able to walk to the grocery store
  13. my new Portland friends
  14. Trevor's cooking
  15. dancing with the family
  16. not working
  17. family field trips
  18. happy hour in Grammy’s Garden
  19. a new state to explore
  20. a new life
  1. closer proximity to Molly
  2. family furniture
  3. my job
  4. my car
  5. Friday early bird dinners with Allison
  6. my old Georgia friends
  7. going to the movies with Allison
  8. not having to walk to the grocery store
  9. my sunroom
  10. the old ladies' Macy's at North Dekalb Mall
  11. my ottoman
  12. Publix Supermarket
  13. Piedmont Park
  14. walking through Ansley Park and by the High Museum and Atlanta Symphony Hall
  15. my view of the Atlanta skyline
  16. movie star neighbors
  17. not having to put the trashcan out each week
  18. my purple bedroom
  19. an old state with many memories
  20. an old life
My experiences in each place and space are quite different. My Atlanta home is old and historic. My building was completed in 1917 and Margaret Mitchell once lived in it. My furniture is comprised of mostly old family pieces and my decor is shabby not-so-chic with lots of things (the good, the bad, and the ugly) I've created and collected throughout the years. My Portland home is new and "green", built in 2004 to improved standards. My furniture is all new (at least to me) and the decor is still sparse, although I'm working hard on adding my own personal tacky to it.

My Atlanta home is private. What I put down stays down and all dirt is mine.
My Portland home is communal, with kids and grandkids in and out, the toilet seat up and down, the refrigerator opened and closed (and occasionally slammed), toys and kid paraphernalia everywhere, sometimes a dog named Lou.

And so, I get to live two lives, both of which embrace and reflect my loves, my interests, and my crazy quirks. On the west coast, I get to be up close and personal as I pretty much think of myself as a full-time Grammy. And then on the east coast, I get to find my solitude and pursue my other selves.

Okay, I know it’s difficult to feel too sorry for me, but I have to say that the transitions are tough, and I'm not just talking about time zones. I have a hard time figuring out which keys are which and I can’t remember if I have any toilet paper or where I keep it. I can’t recall which aisle my Diet Cokes are on in each of my two grocery stores or where are my favorite TV channels are under which remote-control buttons.

And then there's the letting go of the little ones. It was especially hard this time as they are getting old enough to realize I’m leaving. Miles had a meltdown when it came time to say goodbye, his outward falling apart mirroring what I was feeling inside. My heart felt broken in two, each half situated on opposite sides of the continent.

Because there are so many people without even one home, it does sound a bit self serving to be complaining about "oh what a burden" two are, but it's the straddling that's difficult, and I know it would be even more difficult if I didn't have the means to have comfortable surroundings at both ends of the straddle.

So, since I’m not ready yet to give up either life, I'm back to feeling lucky, and I guess I’ll just continue to try to appreciate each place and experience when I'm in the middle of it all and to remember that the transitions will be confusing and painful.


Olga said...

You are truly blessed to have two worlds and the time and energy to enjoy them.

Kate said...

...and the transitions will get easier, too. No worries. Just engage the 'crone' brain: she can handle anything.

well told, Marcia.

Batya said...

You are blessed Marcia. You have the best of two worlds.
"Because there are so many people without even one home, it does sound a bit self serving to be complaining. . ."
Here is one of the most important life lessons I learned living on a kibbutz. If you have less than others and they lost what they have, it doesn't mean it will come to you. And the opposite is true. If you are blessed with such good karma, it is because it is what you are meant to be/have in this life. As for complaining, it's all relative.
I am always so happy to read your posts. It's like a conversation and I'm listening to your stories.

amhatch said...

I'm sad you are heading home to Atlanta because it means summer's almost over for both of us.

I kind of know what you feel. When we go "home" to FL life is so busy, loud, and vibrant that I am so ready to go back to my routine and life in IL. Then I cry because I miss my FL life.

marciamayo said...

Thanks Ladies! Paula, I know you have children much farther away than mine. Aggie, what you said really helped me to see that others feel the way I do.

Anonymous said...

You are a lucky lady. Straddling and transitions are hard - that's just the way it is. But you'll manage - you have the ability to adjust. Stay in the moment. Mary B

Wisewebwoman said...

I did this for a while, Marcia, even incorporated Ireland into the transitions for a few years. It is hard. But how fortunate we are to be able to experiment and experience!
Now I am more or less 'settled' as 'settled' as I can be.
I can relate to your sadness, it is so very hard to leave the little ones!!

cile said...

I read this and think of the excellent example you are giving to your Grandchildren in your resiliency and willingness to spend part of your year - EVERY year - with them! How valuable they will feel when they reflect on this. I hope you settle in to enjoy the rewards of your home in the south, Marcia, and that you find all your comforts there soon.

Friko said...

We are endlessly torn in many directions. As you so ably demonstrated, when in one place you miss the other. And the people in them.

It must be quite hard to adjust to life in two places at the same time, forever arriving and leaving. Home is where the heart is?

On the other hand, it is probably also great fun and you should, by rights, never get bored.

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