More and more recently I find myself searching for things that feel like home, like the zucchini bread my Grandma Donna used to make for us at my grandparents’ cabin in Tawas, Michigan. That place was such a special hideaway for my family. It was a place where we all came together to celebrate holidays, birthdays, and summer. My mind has been wandering to this place, to the place where my family was joyful and together and celebrating life.

I’ve never really been the type of person to get homesick or feel like I can’t stay away from home for too long. Maybe that’s because I’m adaptable and can acclimate fairly easily to new spaces, but I can’t say that I haven’t been thinking about home. I am surrounded by newness here, new housemates, new learning styles, and new experiences every day. I reflected on home this past week as I ventured to the Hoover Wilderness and Yosemite on a 6-day backpacking trip. I can’t say why it took bush-wacking in the backcountry of Yosemite to get me to feel homesick, but it did.

I had known it would happen from the first time I held her – from that moment on, all her growing would be away from me. It is the fundamental unfairness of parenthood that if we do our jobs well, the deepest bond we are given will walk out the door with a wave over the shoulder. We get good training along the way. We learn to say “Have a great time, sweetie” while we are longing to pull them back to safety. And against all the evolutionary imperatives of protecting our gene pool, we give them car keys. And freedom. It’s our job. And I wanted to be a good mother.” – Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Thank you, mother, for giving me freedom when I thought you gave me another rule to follow. Thank you, mother, for letting me go, for letting me make a new home. A home surrounded in growth, in love overflowing. A love that tells me who I am as much as it tells me who I am not. A home that gave me four lives, entangled by red string, all together, yet all different shades of red distinguishing one from the other. One for Grace, one for Madelyn, one for Chloe, and one for me.

I know, mother, that you are longing to pull me back into safety, into your arms for “nuggles” and so you can “hug me and squeeze me and keep me forever and ever”. I am beginning to grasp the depth of your unconditional love for me. Your love that tells me how proud you are of me for becoming the “happiest person you know”. Your love that tells me I’m a good daughter even when I know that I’m not. Your love that doesn’t ask me to be perfect, but to be vulnerable. Until I can give you a story of who I am, you only have the story of who you believe that I am. Thank you for believing that I am good, that I will go far, that I am someone for you to be proud of.

Momma, I want to give you three gifts that are not mine to give, “A compass: to find your new path. A packet of smoked salmon: because they always come home. Pens: to celebrate having time to write.” I am proud of you for growing with me as I learn who I am. I thank you for accepting my forgiveness and for forgiving me in return. I am healing one step at a time as I learn how to be me and my wish for you is that you would do the same, knowing that I will always come home so I can hug you and squeeze you and keep you forever and ever.

Smells Like Home…

  1. Zucchini Bread
  2. Cubed potatoes and onions in the oven (Sunday Brunch)
  3. Pine Sol

Sounds Like Home…

  1. Booster Seat by Spacey Jane
  2. Monumental by Coastal Club
  3. Surefire (Piano Version) by Wilderado

Feels Like Home…

  1. Dance parties in Mouw Cottage living room
  2. Trashy movies on the couch with my mom and dad (I always pick the worst ones)
  3. Morning coffee brewed for two

Published by Halle McGuire

Class of 2024 Major | Exercise Science Program | Oregon Extension Location | Oregon, U.S.A.

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  1. Halle, I have read this post at least 3 times today and each time I SOB. I even was rereading it just now and Love & War in your Twenties played and I absolutely could not hold it together. I am so so so immensely proud of you and I am so happy that God gave you (and me) something so beautiful and special that it makes you miss it. I can’t even express how happy I am it makes me to hear that you are reflecting on past relationships and building new trust. Madelyn, Grace, and I all cried reading this post this morning and we want you to know that we LOVE you so much and your analogies are so poetically beautiful and I cherish our love and friendship every single day. Miss you big. Keep on growing. <3 Chloe

    1. Chloe! I love and miss you so so much and I’m incredibly grateful for your love and support! I couldn’t do it without you :))

  2. Hi Halle,
    Like Chloe, I can’t stop coming back to this post. You said you were going to be vulnerable in this one, and you certainly exceeded my expectations for that! I’m so proud of you for everything. Backpacking, baking, reading, learning- what can’t she do! This post was so beautifully written and I can tell you meant every word, which I know was probably challenging yet freeing for you. So blessed that I have a home in you and you have one in me. Thinking of you and praying for you always! Especially when I am drinking morning coffee, still brewed for two :,)

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