"Thanks for letting me hang at your house."
I've heard that phrase many times in the years that I have been hosting wandering friends and family. Ours has been the pullout bed on the way to something else, or the futon when you needed to be away from your real bed. What we might lack in ambiance, we make up for in rustic familiarity. We will make you a frozen pizza or a tuna sandwich, in that way that we do. We have even made our laundry facilities available. No fluff and fold, however.
Keeping this in mind, and the nature of our hostel-ipality, I would not have expected to hear my own son thank me "for letting me hang at your house."
By a continued fluke of scheduling, the school district for whom I work has deigned the Easter weekend as the beginning of Spring Break, while the college my son attends is wrapping things up on that weekend to prepare for the last quarter of the year. We managed last year by finding a way to meet up with him somewhere between our respective vacation periods. He was able to come home last year for a few days to check in and check in with all those who shared his timetable. This year, with the addition of his work schedule and urge to travel about the coast, he only had a couple of days to return to the place of his birth.
His home. The one he now refers to as his parents'. Which makes sense, I suppose, since he and his stuff have been effectively moved out for more than three years now. Which is a measurable percentage of his life. When he talks about his house now, he does not mean the place that continues to store his electric train sets. He is talking about the place where he parks his cars. The place where he pays rent.
Which might not have been quite the gut shot except for the fact that his mother and I had only the evening before been peeking in on video that we had taken back when he was days old. We bought that house to be the place where he would grow up. Backyard birthday parties and a room of his own. A kitchen where he watched us prepare those tuna sandwiched and frozen pizzas. A living room where we read books and watched TV and played Guitar Hero. It was the place he invited his friends to stay. The place where he spoke his first words and took his first steps.
And now those steps lead away from here. I'm glad he still remembers the way home.