This week I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how lost I felt in 1984, the first year I ever planned to be away from home for Thanksgiving (although it didn’t actually end up being my first Thanksgiving away from home, as I explain in this essay). It’s been decades since I gave any real thought to those miserable months I spent in Philadelphia, and my parents have been gone for years now, too, but I’ve been feeling acutely homesick anyway. This fall is the first time my husband and I have been alone in the house since 1991, and I am still struggling to adjust to our newly empty nest.
All our boys came home for the holiday this week, something I know better than to expect once they have homes and families of their own, and I delighted in every moment they were here. Then, when they left to go back to the separate lives they are all happily building for themselves, I took myself to the woods. Because sometimes the only cure for homesickness is to enlarge the definition of home.