My kids were 15 and 13 when I first began writing my column in the Villager. At that time, the name and the theme of my column was “No Place Like Home,” and I thought of it pretty much as a “Mom” column. Hearth and home was my headquarters, and family events and activities – my family’s, and those of families in general – were my main topics.
At that time, whenever I wrote about my kids – my husband, too, for that matter – I would always read my column to them before submitting it, in order to get their permission and approval first. I never wanted to say anything that would embarrass them in print, and we all had different ideas of what that might be. Usually, my kids just rolled their eyes, but okayed what I had written.
Eventually, we dropped that practice. I’m not sure whether it was because they started trusting my judgment more or because they just got tired of listening to me read my columns to them. Either way, they never had any issues with anything I wrote about them, from birthdays and graduations, to what they went on to do with their lives after that. I didn’t have to check with them before writing about the wide range of emotions I felt when my son joined the Marines, when he left for Iraq, and when he came home safely. Or when my daughter left for college in Florida, and when she fell in love and got married there.
At some point after that, a friend said to me, “You’re going to have to change the name of your column soon. You hardly ever write about your home and family anymore.” She was right. By then my kids were grown and gone, and I was out exploring the world around me in new ways. Nothing crazy or exotic, just different than when I spent most of my time at home raising my kids. I’ve taken some new classes, joined different organizations and activities, taken a few trips, and found a new mission in life in the time since then. And, as always, I enjoy sharing my experiences and discoveries with those who read my column.
But it’s time to go home again, back to writing about my family – at least for a little while. My son just got engaged over the weekend, and I’m excited about all that is to come. The plans and preparations leading up to the wedding, and the events and activities that will be a part of his life – their life – from now on. I’m sure I’ll have a few reports and reflections to share with you from time to time, especially about how our kids grow and change over time, and about the milestones in their lives and in all our lives.
Family is still the heart and soul of my life. No matter what else I do – or write about – I enjoy being reminded of this every so often. And in a constantly-changing world, I take comfort in a belief that’s as rock-solid now as it’s always been: There really is no place like home.
The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on July 2, 2015.
©Betty Liedtke, 2015
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