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.
- my grandchildren
- hanging out with my very own grown kids
- toys underfoot
- my tiny front yard that I don't have to maintain
- wandering around St. Johns
- Sauvie Island
- the rivers and bridges
- my big bathroom
- the weather in summer
- my gas fireplace (even in summer)
- Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens
- being able to walk to the grocery store
- my new Portland friends
- Trevor's cooking
- dancing with the family
- not working
- family field trips
- happy hour in Grammy’s Garden
- a new state to explore
- a new life
- closer proximity to Molly
- family furniture
- my job
- my car
- Friday early bird dinners with Allison
- my old Georgia friends
- going to the movies with Allison
- not having to walk to the grocery store
- my sunroom
- the old ladies' Macy's at North Dekalb Mall
- my ottoman
- Publix Supermarket
- Piedmont Park
- walking through Ansley Park and by the High Museum and Atlanta Symphony Hall
- my view of the Atlanta skyline
- movie star neighbors
- not having to put the trashcan out each week
- my purple bedroom
- an old state with many memories
- an old life
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.