Feeling at Home 3

When I first thought of this post, I thought it was going to be about having cultural event fatigue.  My two part-time jobs require that I attend a lot of cultural events – most with groups.  I have gone to 5 plays, 2 museums, and 3 concerts in 6 weeks.  I have felt a little fatigued of group cultural events – nothing that a weekend off won’t relieve.  Then the holiday calendar kicks in and a concentrated period of intense cultural attendance ramps up again. (This is not a bad complaint to have, I realize fully.)

What’s really going on, I realize, is that I’m feeling lonely for family time and the spontaneity that happens when  your sister or brother calls and says, “We’re all going out shopping and then going to check out that new restaurant…pick you up at…. Or your daughter says, “Let’s pack up the kids and go to that consignment shop and our favorite Tuesday Morning – we’ll each limit ourselves to $25 and see who gets the most.” Or you say “I fixed a bunch of somethin-somethin, come by for dinner tonight”  and your brother, mother and sister and ’em all come by.  You love each other up and tease each other and it’s just right.

With my family, I have a rhythm and understanding that means things can happen on the fly.  I don’t have to prepare for them.  I don’t have to be my best hostess for them (although I try).  I can be more relaxed and casual. 

Among my friends, spontaneity is rare.  Everything has to be scheduled, mostly weeks in advance. A significant number of our planned touch-points get canceled because of work demands or an opportunity popping up (on either of our parts). 

My friends who grew up in Boston have family have regular family interactions that are rarely shared in our friendships.  (Although family and friendship overlapped a bit more when I was single. ) Have you noticed this – boundaries around what is expected of and shared with family versus what is expected of and shared with friends.  N’er the twain shall meet has been my experience.)  I also have some friends whose family I’ve never met despite knowing them for years.

Being without family in Boston (except for my husband) means that I often feel isolated and apart even in these familiar surroundings.  With the children grown and gone (and estranged from each other but that’s another post) Boston no longer feels like home.  It is a place I live and like (sometimes even love) but it is not home despite living most of my adult life here.

This dissatisfaction is a small, persistent leak that I’ve patched repeatedly but never fully repaired.  I don’t know how.  It’s bugging me to no end.  I know lots of people and do lots of things but they aren’t fam-i-ly!

I can’t imagine being old in a place with no children or grandchildren or siblings or extended family to share that part of my life’s journey.

How would it be to truly feel that the place you live is home?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the lovely  home you’ve created meshed  with the home that birthed you and was adjacent to the homes your children have built?



If you liked this post, you might also like:  Dont Change: An Impossible Request of Family 

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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3 thoughts on “Feeling at Home

  • Carolyn

    My goodness, you have given such accurate words to feelings I have experienced since being in Boston. I actually don’t have family left but all of my close friends live elsewhere. They usually remark, “I wish you were closer so that we could just have coffee together or catch a movie or just hang out”—the kind of stuff we do when I go there to visit them. My significant other has children locally but when we attend those “family” occasions I/we feel like “outsiders” visiting someone else’s family gathering. Just last week I began to reminiscence about holidays with family back in the day. We truly are creatures of tribe and as we mature, we really feel the need to be connected to authentic smiles, warmth, and people who demonstrate their love for us. Thanks for giving voice to my feelings and for providing this needed sanity check. Awareness precedes action and now it’s up to me to figure out what I want to do about making me feel good about my situation here in Boston or where ever I am. Thank you for sharing.
    P.S. Something else that has surfaced for me in the past is that no one in Boston—except your husband—ever met my parents; the people who did know my mom and dad are those who live elsewhere. That shines light on the lyrics of a song I learned as a child, “Make new friends but cherish the old…”

  • Candelaria

    Your comments are so eloquent I have nothing more to say except for two things – it is always nice to know that one isn’t alone in one’s feelings and as we get older I do feel that family means more.  It is easy to not only feel isolated but to be isolated.  Things that irritated us about family when we were younger become precious or accepted and expected.
    Thanks for reading and caring.  You are wise – one either has to create family where one is or figure out how to go to it.

  • Marcia

    I was really moved by this post. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the number of family I have here in Boston, especially at holidays when we have large gatherings. But I do feel truly at home and very grateful for having children and grandchildren, brothers, cousins and nieces and nephews close by. Your post helped me realize what feeling at home means. Thank you!