A Peaceful Place

It feels nice to be home; it always does. It reminds me of how easy it can be to gain comfort. Living by myself down in Austin for over three years now, I seem to easily forget just how calm it actually is in the small Massachusetts town where my parents currently reside. Calm, quiet, comfortable… peaceful.

Between the town’s remote nature, the house, the small lake at the bottom of the yard out back, the escape itself from Austin, or just the presence of my parents, I wonder what it is that makes home feel so chill. I suspect all of these factors have something to do with the vibe, though the latter of all seems to hold more weight these days. My parents are such kind people with such warm hearts - another fact easily forgotten from 2,000 miles away.

Yet, I’m always quickly reminded. The most recent trip home was no exception, though I’d never been so abruptly reminded as I was this time around. It started with a simple story. This was about a week ago; we were on our way home from the airport (my parents decided to pick me up), and my mother was still fuming from a situation that had occurred while they were waiting for me at the gate.

“You won’t believe this jerk at the airport,” she explained. “He’s standing there on his phone with a coffee in his hand. He puts the coffee down on his bag and isn’t even paying enough attention to know that his bag isn’t a sturdy surface. And sure enough the coffee spills on the ground. And do you think he cleans it up? No. He just walks away and leaves his spilled coffee on the ground. You believe that? What a jerk. Anyway, I cleaned it up for him. I guess his mother never taught him to clean up after himself.”

Now, my mother’s version of “fuming” is getting all puffy while also doing her best to tell an entertaining story, while also doing her best to insert a lesson in there somewhere for those listening. Sure, she thought the guy was a jerk, but really she just wanted to get us laughing about it, and make the point that people should clean up after themselves.

I know this tactic all too well, so I reverted back to my rebellious ways and proposed a challenge. “Definitely a jerk move,” I responded. “But you shouldn’t have cleaned up after someone else’s mess.”

“Well, someone had to clean it up. He should’ve, but he didn’t. So I did.”

Now in my younger days, I imagine this story would have yielded an aggressive eye-roll from me. Yet here I am, a week later and back in Austin, still thinking about my mother’s response, and her action to clean up after some jerk’s spilled coffee.

That’s the kind of person my mother is - always using her heart to do what’s right, always willing to set the example, always teaching simple, yet important life lessons. That’s her, and I’m proud to say that it seems to have rubbed off on me after all these years. And not to take anything away from my father. He carries the same type of warmth, and the collective example they set together is what makes being home feel like, well, home. I’m always reminded of where I come from, and thus reminded to feel what it means to be part of a home they’ve spent the past 45+ years building. Peaceful.

Anyway, I had some time, so I thought I’d do my best to tell you all an entertaining story, while also doing my best to insert a lesson in there somewhere.