When I Skype with my parents I mostly talk to the inside of their noses. This is a vast improvement on our family home videos where my dad would film the ground while he was walking.
Usually, though, my parents eventually manage to set the iPad down or hold it stable long enough for me to see them. And it makes me homesick.
I hadn’t realized it before, but I’m not homesick for the house or place, which I’ve never lived in, I’m sick for a nostalgic sense of home. Home isn’t my parents’ house in the States, home is wherever they are. Particularly my mom.
She’s an over-packer, but not the typical kind. She doesn’t over-pack because she’s scared of being unprepared for a situation, she over-packs because she brings gifts with her wherever she goes. In her suitcase 50% of the items belong to a category called “I brought this because I thought you might like it.” These items are sometimes new, but often they’re from her closet or own personal things. No matter the length or distance of the trip, if she’s seeing friends or strangers, my mom fills her suitcase to the limit with “things you might like.”
Because her suitcase is filled with “things you might like”, my mom creates home wherever she goes. When I visited my parents in Shanghai last year, my mom managed to bake for me a ham she brought with her. When she visited me in Jerusalem I was left with an entire table full of goodies that I had missed, mostly things I had missed subconsciously. And when I saw her for just one day in Las Vegas at Easter, she brought local newspaper clippings, clothes, and knick knacks from around the house, which she held up one at a time saying, “Do you want this? I thought you might like it.”
My favorite, however, is how she brings candles with her wherever she goes. The first thing she does when staying in a hotel room is fill it with burning candles that bring the smell and aroma of home.
After being relatively nomadic for several years, one of the things I most look forward to in the future is creating my own home. I haven’t learned how to do it yet. For my next move, I’m going to give everything away, then start fresh and try to create a home for myself. I’m sure I’ll bring my mom in to help me. In the meantime, I’ll burn my candles, the ones my mom brought me.