All Roads Don’t Always Lead Home {We are learning that is ok}

I would have to admit that I am probably a little more (or a lot more) sentimental than my siblings.

There is nothing good or bad about this but I do find myself affected differently than my siblings at times.

When my parents sold the house we grew up in I was a wreck!

I love connections to the past and places.

Not surprising with my love of vintage items, history, art and traditions.

They bought a small farm about 15 minutes from the small town I grew up in.

We loved that small farm and all of its imperfections right away (at least most of the imperfections:-)).

I can not even count the times I have driven alone with my children driving across Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois to make it to that farm.

I started making that drive alone when Benjamin was a baby and it has always been a little adventure that I did with my children.

At any point we could decide we wanted to head to the farm, pack the Jeep and make our way towards “home”.

It wasn’t the house I had grown up in but it was the same towns, same dirt roads, same faces and same cornfields.

It was home.

The farm became the place to walk on dirt roads, built tree houses, gather around a large bonfire, exploring in the fields, Grandma’s grape popsicles, playing with Lizzie the dog, catching fireflies, rides on the tractors, afternoons on a blanket in the orchard and swinging high from the rope swing.

The past 2 1/2 years that my parents have been going through their divorce the farm was often a sweet and quiet place to work through our emotions.

I don’t know how that little farm gave us so much comfort…but it did.

Maybe it was the last “home” we would come back to and we knew it.

Once the divorce had started I always left not knowing if it would be the last time that I would walk those dirt roads and that always made it a treasure.

When I was told that the farm would be sold as part of the divorce I felt ripped off.

In the midst of my family breaking a part I don’t know why the farm seemed too much.

It was my children’s favorite place in the world.

My husband usually is the main one to see my tears and when I was told the farm would sell I couldn’t even pretend I wasn’t devastated.

As the farm was being prepared to sell there were little things that prepared all of us.

It was a mental and emotional journey…at least for me.

The little things helped the children too.

When we knew people were looking at the farm that was one step.

When all of the children’s tree houses were torn down there were many tears from my youngest…but it was a step.

As years were packed up and my mom made her move to Colorado that was another step.

The farm has been sold now.

I didn’t cry this time.

I cried over a year ago when I was told it would sell because I felt sorry for myself.

Just being honest.

Ever since I left for college I have always had a place to come home to.

I had made that journey from 18 years old all the way to 41 years.

To think that there was no place to go home anymore was hard to get used to.

Over the past 2 1/2 years and definitely the past year I have come to terms with home and what it now means to me.

Home is the people I love.

Home may always mean the cornfields of Illinois in some sense but it won’t be where I journey.

Home is now Colorado or wherever Kelly and I plant our feet.

I mourned the adventure of heading “home” that the children and I would no longer share.

We decided the other night that just because there is no farm doesn’t stop our love of just heading out and creating adventures together.

We started making our list of all the places we want to start driving together and exploring.

It is a good one.

We have people we love in so many places and they are our “home” too.

So to our friends in San Diego, San Clemente, Portland, Seattle, Edmonds, Utah, Idaho, Illinois, DC, San ready….we are coming home!

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  1. Dr. Shamanie Haneca

    I can relate to this Jeanne. HOME becomes the sacred space between those we love and that love us back. Divorce rips off everyone. You have handled this beautifully and sharing it with others has made a space for all of us to see that we are never alone in our suffering, our struggles and our revelations about LOVE are the only thing that end up mattering. My heart is with you. Thank you for being real, and vulnerable and authentic, and for being such an amazing artist, and teacher. My hat is off to you my friend.

  2. Jen Osborn

    One one of the things that really helps me with this is thinking about the ways I can create home for my kids now that they are preparing to fly off on their own. Home to me us the feeling I get when I’m spending time with those I love most. Love you AND your tender-sensitiveness !

  3. Cynthia

    I know what you mean, Jeanne, as I suspect my mom is soon going to have to sell either our family cottage or the house where I grew up or both, as they become harder to manage on her own since my dad passed away several years ago. It’s hard to let go, even when we have time to get used to the idea that the time is coming. And yet, it is also a chance to begin a new adventure. I hope you and your family create lots of new memories to store in your hearts alongside these lovely images of past visits to the farm. Thanks for sharing your feelings about this sad time so openly and honestly.

  4. cindymcook

    Beautifully written! I went through a very similar situation. It took a while to come to realize that home is with my family, my siblings and friends. Places that I feel secure and comfortable. (As Author Thomas Wolfe penned…You can’t go home again)

  5. Peggy

    You know I can definitely relate to this! Growing up in a military family we MOVED a LOT but home was my grandparents’ farm. I think it was because we lived with them off and on over the years, first when Dad was in Vietnam and then again when we were waiting for housing in Germany… when my parents separated after I graduated driving the 4 hours to the panhandle of Nebraska from Denver to visit my Grandma. Well it was home! I was devastated when Grandma died… and the farm was auctioned off. You see I had plans to buy that farm… but we were across the country and just did not have the finances at that time. Its taken some time but I like you have come to realize home is where ever Chris and I lay our heads down… whether it be a hotel for weeks on end or a small ranch style house amongst the fields of Indiana. Home will always be with my loved ones!

    Enjoy your up and coming trips! Make the most of the times you have surrounded by your family as time passes so quickly. And thank you for sharing your heart!

  6. Sheila

    I absolutely understand. The same situation happened in my family. Heart breaking, but you’re right, other adventures can be found. I get it. Take care.

    Sheila in Oregon

  7. Pam

    how about martha’s vineyard?? 🙂 come “home” and visit us next summer!
    i can relate to all of this.
    my parents divorced when i was 20.
    our childhood home was sold along with our ski house in VT. divorce sucks.
    in our 20 years of marriage and 10 moves..we’ve called home to many different places.
    i do consider the vineyard home. it’s where we go back to every summer. we have family there. we have history there. (i hope to someday own a little cottage there 🙂
    and when i step onto that ferry, i feel like i’m going home.
    i’m sorry about your loss jeanne. and it is a loss. but i have no doubt you’ll always find home. xo

  8. WendyW

    Oh Jeanne, the story brought tears to my eyes especially with those gorgeous pictures of your wonderful family home. I pray for you and your family to have many happy journeys and adventures ahead xxx

  9. Susan

    Lovely, Jeanne. We are in the process of selling my husband’s home and then ours as we head to our dream – a house in the mountains. My daughter is struggling with this decision but we have affirmed home is wherever we all come together. Thanks for sharing your story.

  10. Shirley Levine

    I really enjoyed reading this and spent time reflecting on the parts that I identified with. I am definitely sentimental and spent years tracking my ancestors through microfilm and documents (have 9 leather books with photos, documents, essays etc), writing memoir essays about parts of my life), and now writing everyone of my 8 grandchildren an annual long birthday letter to share our experiences through the past year, to help keep memories alive for both of us. But I was shocked to realize that I don’t have the sense of loss about moving on – to a new place, a new home. I’ve painted all of my homes (in retrospect), drawn floor plans, and written essays about my memories – but moving on was very easy – always with a sense of adventure – and the realization that it was going to be another wonderful home with my husband and then family. I’m not sure that I would have realized this as such a stark difference in my need to connect with the past in different ways without reflecting on your post.

    Love your class – and I’m really totally immersed in Guadi this week. This was the perfect class for this time of the year….


    such a beautiful post, jeanne.
    i’m so sorry about your parents’ divorce…it’s such a deep loss no matter what your age.

    you’re right..home is wherever the people you love are….love that you are calling home to all those places that hold people who are dear to you.

  12. Lori

    What a beautiful heartfelt post Jeanne ~ home is where your heart is and I love what you and Kelly have planned with the kids ~ so many adventures in your future!

  13. Angie Lawson

    Thank you Jeanne~you really touched my heart! I had the same wonderful experiences as a child and all my growing up years? For me it was at my grandparents place!! I ALWAYS knew comfort, peace, and a lot of good times playing night games with all the cousins every time we came to visit (which was quite often luckily). When they passed, and their home that I pretty much grew up in, was sold to complete strangers, I felt such an emptiness and sadness inside that I have never felt since. But I completely agree that “home” is wherever we are with our loved ones, because in all reality, they’re the ones that love us back, not the actual place where we are!! Thank you for sharing this beautiful post!–?Angie

  14. Bianca

    Good morning Jeanne. I have not read anyone’s blog in over a year and I am breaking back into the blog world by reading yours! I woke up this morning thinking of Alexis (fern & feather) and then for some reason I thought of you. 🙂 I am sitting here drinking coffee and reading this beautiful and raw post, and I am so inspired and touched by your journey of home. I am sorry to hear about your parents divorce and the farm selling, but I appreciate your spirit and sense of adventure. Thank you for sharing your emotions and your journey. Beautiful post!

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