a sort of homecoming

Twenty years ago, with my parents' car stuffed to the brim, they drove me south to college out of state. I caught rides home for holidays but never again lived where I grew up.

Sixteen years ago, Jim and I made our home in Pittsburgh, on the third floor of a row house, atop a steel fire escape. Thirteen years ago, we returned to the camp where we met, raising chickens and children in a farm house with barely any neighbors, excepting the hundreds of kids who bunked there every summer. Three years ago, we moved into half a house on a busy corner in the borough. We put a Little Free Library out front, drank coffee on the porch in all kinds of weather, and invited everyone we knew for happy hour.

In less than two weeks, the four of us are moving to Philadelphia, back near where I began. My sister and her husband bought a big house, and we'll be living that third floor life again with them and their littles. My kids will finally get to grow up among cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. If life insists upon being indefatigably hard, upending it to surround ourselves with those who love us best feels like the most natural thing in the world.

There's so much more to say about downward mobility and nativist creep, but I'm rusty and tired. I'm hopeful, too. I'm coming home, and I'm bringing all my babes with me.

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