I found myself thinking about one of my very first childhood friends and staying the night at her house. They had a book-filled shelf in their kitchen and on one of the shelves were two tiny jars that contained my friend's and her little sister's umbilical cord stump. For breakfast one morning we ate cold fried chicken straight out of the fridge and I had never known you could eat fried chicken cold. And it was good. Her parents were cool and drove a Trans Am and let us dance to Prince in the living room and also took us to Dairy Queen one day where I had my very first Blizzard. Chocolate covered cherry. They would go on fun family vacations to Florida (we never went on vacations unless it was to visit family in the hills somewhere) and my Mom would feed their fish and hamsters while they were gone.
One day her parents got a divorce and all I knew that meant was they were moving far away and I never saw her again.
Another friend a couple years later was an only child and she had Guess jeans in every color. She could listen to music in her room with her door closed and even had a tv. Her Mom made tuna sandwiches, which I also had never eaten before, and she would cut them in perfect squares. She would also boil bones on the stove from the Beef Mart for their dog. The house always smelled like boiled dog bones. And one night I slept over but woke up in the middle of the night really homesick and my Mom came and got me.
Later on, her parents got a divorce, too.
I probably would go home every time from those friends' houses and tell my Mom all the cool things they had that I didn't. The things their parents did that mine didn't. And life can always seem more exciting and fun when it's not your house and not your family.
But, looking back, my house was always safe, and I always had plenty. More than enough. I hope my boys, and soon- little girl, feel the same way. I hope our home and our arms are ultimately the only place they truly want to be, in the end. I hope their hearts always have that compass that points to the stuff that really matters.
That's if I ever let them go to a friend's house. We're still working on that.