Can you ever really return home?


It’s a question that came to me not long ago – at McDonald’s, in fact. Just before we sold our first home in May, I was overcome with a longing for my parents and their house in the mountains of Virginia.

So I did what any Millennial parent would do: I tried to recreate a scene from my own childhood.

We took our children to eat beneath the golden arches for the very first time. As you may have guessed, our sandwiches were edible cardboard and the kids ate very little without the aid of excessive ketchup.

Really, the moment stung. “Old McDonald’s”, as my son lovingly refers to it, only heightened feelings of isolation within me.

Could I ever experience home again?

This week I am visiting Virginia with my kids. Motherhood, of course, changes the experience, but I am looking to reconnect with the small town that released me into the world.

Appalachia is a tough place to call home. Once you leave, it is close to impossible to return. 

But on the second day of our visit, I faced a more immediate challenge: no reliable Wi-Fi. Truly, there are few things more frustrating for a blogger.

So I debated the miles I was willing to drive and set forth during my children’s nap time. And where did I retreat?

The local library – the same shelter that allowed me to weather the storms of misunderstanding, gossip, and small town culture when I was a youth.                                                             

As it turns out, the distance to home is never as far as we imagine.

And 17 years later, the librarian still remembers my name.


6 thoughts on “Can you ever really return home?

  1. That’s awesome! Very poignant.

    Recreating childhood is interesting, isn’t it? Especially with your own little ones. It’s a strange feeling when your own kids don’t respond to things you used to in the same way. But they’re people with their own personalities and tastes and so on, so I’ve found that it’s nothing to get hung up about.

    Also: libraries are fantastic, and there’s something to be said about growing up in small towns.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is. When I find myself missing home, it’s the worst. This particular situation surprised me because I am more like my children in encountering fast food now. They do have their own little personalities and preferences, don’t they? 🙂

      Libraries are lifelines in communities, but only if they are used. I wish more people still placed value in them (they are so underutilized where I live in GA).

      And small towns, oh, the stories! For myself, a small town ensured (1) that I wouldn’t marry someone that lived in my hometown and (2) that I would forever connect with nature. For these things, I’m incredibly grateful!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your lessons are too funny Lauren. But there is something to be said for both getting out of town for a bit, and for being close to nature. It’s nice to have grown up around actual forests and stuff, isn’t it?!

        And I feel the same way about libraries. I really hope they’re still a thing when all of our generations’ grandkids are adults.

        Liked by 1 person

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