Since yesterday was Father’s Day, our house was filled with family. Not my family, but my partner’s. Ironic, since neither of us is a parent, I guess, but I’ve never been that clear on the proper use of the word irony (Alanis, it seems, is not alone in that). I did make the call home to my father to wish him a happy Father’s Day as well as a happy birthday, which was also yesterday.

I say “call home” but calling him at their house in the Pacific Northwest is not really calling home for me, since I’ve never lived there. My dad was a Marine, which meant we moved a lot. I was born in Hawaii and spent my childhood in progressively less pretty places after that—Florida, Maine, Maryland, North Carolina, Arizona, then back to Maryland. At that point I went off to college, and my parents moved again. To London. If only they’d done that earlier. I spent a disastrous year in New Hampshire and then transferred to Mizzou for its journalism school, and I’ve been stuck in Missouri ever since.

Most of the time, when I’d think of home, it would be wherever my parents were. It made sense when I was a kid. My parents and my brother were the only constants (that and the drafty windows in base housing). As I got older, though, that seemed less and less true: They transferred to Belgium, retired and moved back to Maine, spent a year in Arizona at a house I never even saw, then moved north again. At the same time, even though I’ve been here for almost twenty years, St. Louis never quite “took.” This place doesn’t have that home feel, but I also have to wonder if I’d even know that when I encountered it.

I don’t know what this has to do with Father’s Day or my father’s birthday, except that he gave me an idea for something to write about while we were talking on the phone (thanks, Dad), and it also just goes to prove what I’ve thought for a while: It doesn’t matter whatever I start writing, it always ends up being about home.

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