Monday 11 PM:
I had occasion today to drive through the old neighbourhood.
It's closer to the city of Montreal than my present community. It's also a much older and more affluent suburb.
My childhood home was built in the 1940's - a semi-detached cottage on a quiet, heavily-treed one block street. It's far from a mansion, with only eight rooms, but it's more spacious than anything else I've ever lived in.
(My present home is a bungalow, built in 1965, directly across from a large park and playground. We've lived here for fourteen years and I find it comfortable and cosy.)
I haven't often visited my old street since Dad sold the house when he remarried in 1984. That's probably why I see it with a strange mixture of old and new eyes. The street hasn't changed at all, nor have the homes, except for some paint and modernized windows and garage doors. There were a car and a minivan in our old driveway; someone finally fenced in the back yard (we had fir trees) and I could see a swing set behind the house. I'm glad it's still a child's home. I could also see through to the adjoining back yard of my best friend's old home. When I heard from her last, she was married and living in British Columbia.
Some new condominiums have appeared where the Dominion (grocery) store used to be; a large gaping hole promises more of the same in the gas station's old lot; but with these few exceptions the streets where I used to walk (endlessly) look exactly the same.
That is, they're the same.. but I'm different.
I look at the homes and the well-tended streets with their quaint shops and think, "I grew up HERE?" Nobody told me I was rich.. why wasn't I happier?
I'd say I'm probably happier now than at any time in my life. Happier than when I was in school, in love, working at a job I liked, or even newly married. Some of those times might have been more exciting but the difference is, now I'm happy with myself, with who I am. That's an ongoing process of course, which really didn't kick in to any significant extent until I was in my forties.
I really don't have much of a desire for a big house - not in any practical sense, anyway. Home decorating bores me and I'm way past the nesting instinct. If I had a big ol' stone mansion with a lovely English country garden and people to take care of it all, that would be ok but if I had to do it myself I'd rather have a small apartment with a large computer.
As for Dad, he's slowly regaining his strength. He ventured out with Stepmom and me to the mall this afternoon. He still wants to do more than he has the energy for and gets a bit discouraged when he can't. Luckily, his car battery went dead while he was in the hospital, and he'll have to call the auto club for a boost and take it to the mechanic... when he's up to that. Until then I'll gladly take him out a few times a week, or he can take a taxi if he must. I'm in no hurry for him to get back behind the wheel.
The weirdness of the web knows no bounds..