“The House That Built Me”


If I could just come in I swear I’ll leave

Won’t take nothing but a memory from the house that built me


–Miranda Lambert, The House That Built Me


I began my summer with a trip home. 

I spent almost two weeks soaking in the warmth of family and old friends who welcome me with open arms every time I return.  I sat in small-town coffee shops and read.  I slept in and snuggled with the dog we got when I was sixteen.  I went running in my parents’ neighborhood, waving at people I’ve known since I was a kid.  I watched my mom coach softball and celebrated my birthday at my favorite restaurant.  I saw a movie with my parents and my brother.  We all cried at the same scene, then laughed at our tears, and wiped at them with popcorn-stained napkins.  I had coffee with a friend I’ve known since we were babies, and went to a barbecue filled with people I worshipped in high school.  I had drinks with my senior year boyfriend and breakfast with my maid of honor. 

This trip set the tone for the rest of my summer.  After a very stressful, emotional academic year, going home grounded me.  It put me in the mindset I needed to enjoy the rest of my time off and make the most of it.

One morning, I ran into the mother of an elementary school friend at my favorite bakery in town.  Much to my surprise, she asked me if I was still writing. 

“I always thought you were very talented,” she told me, and the words made tears spring to my eyes. 

Here was this person I hadn’t seen for probably a decade and a half, maybe more, and she cut right to the heart of the person that I want to be.  It was like I was in fifth grade again. 

She reminded me that I was writing at nine, ten, and eleven years old.  She made me remember who I was back then, when the world hadn’t gotten in the way.  Before I allowed all of the distractions, the trappings, the expectations of adulthood to manipulate who I am. 

In some ways I believe that I’m a better person now than I was as a kid.  I certainly want to be a better person, anyway.  But there are also parts of myself that I’ve lost; parts that I would very much like to have back.  I don’t know if it’s true that you can’t go home again, but if going home means remembering who I really am and holding on to that person, maybe it’s worth a try.

2 Responses to ““The House That Built Me””

  • tessa Says:

    i love that you have such a strong connection to home like i do 🙂 AND i absolutely love love love that new song. i get all sappy and wistful every time it comes on the radio!!

  • Missy Brooks-Szumski Says:

    Colleen, I loved this post. I have been feeling the same way, adulthood can sometimes be so busy. I saw this man today across the street and he reminded me of a old boyfriend, and the way he was standing and smiling reminded so much of this boyfriend, and this one time he was standing there and I ran and jumped into his arms and that ohhh so young carefree kind of way, and I stared thiking when the last time I did that with my husband. There is no carefree, there is 3 kids and craziness. Not that I am not happy, but would be nice to be a little less carefree again,

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