Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Home Base

The front of every house is a magical place.

It's where we greet friends and embrace family.
It's where we open the door to new mornings
and say goodnight to the moon.
It's where we place the Welcome mat.

When I was young,
the front step was the most welcome sight
in the world.
To me, it usually meant I was finally home
after a long day at school.
It was a place to watch lightning bugs,
talk about how bored we were,
or simply a place to sit.

But most importantly,
it was "Base".
It was the only spot of safety
when playing Tag, Miss Goobygob,
or War.

It was a little concrete square of peace.
A place of security-
where no one could get us
(if they played fair)-
and all bets were off.

I still remember long summer nights
beneath the porch light,
playing shadow tag or Red Rover-
knowing that Mom would appear
at the screen door every few minutes
to make sure we were okay.
It was a security that we took for granted.
A shelter that we thought would always be there-
A firm sanctuary that would never go away.

But we went away.
We left the steps of home-
one by one-
till there was none of us left
to warm the porch
or to catch the fireflies.

When Mom looked out,
no one was there.

How sad she must have felt to see us
sprout invisible wings
and fly!
How bittersweet to see the years
change and vanish...

I just hope my children know
that our front step is always there for them.
That it is "base".
That no matter how old they are
or what they do,
I will love and protect them
as well as I know how.

They can come sit and talk
or just come to tell me
how bored they are.
We can watch fireflies
and autumn leaves
and clouds that drift to nowhere.
We can remember days
when they played tag,
cartwheeled in the dewy grass,
and built lopsided snowmen.

when I look out the screen door,
I can still see them as children-
running happily up the safety
of the steps
and into my arms.

And every once in awhile,
I still peek out,
hoping they are okay.
That they are safe
and happy
and that they will always
come back
to home base.