In my new lesbian romance, Let The Beat Drop, the main characters find themselves returning home for the summer. I loved telling Jess and Sadie’s story, but as a mom I couldn’t help thinking about it from the perspective of their mothers too. I have three teenage sons. They’re reaching the age where they’re going to head out on their own life adventures—it’s started already with one off at college. When my kids were little, I wanted home to be a place where they could grow and build a future from, but now that they’re getting older and starting to leave the nest I want it to be a soft place to land and recharge.
This summer some things about home for us changed and, of course, everything in the world seemed to change due to the pandemic. We missed out on band trips and baseball seasons, summer camps and summer jobs. Conferences were canceled. Prom was canceled. We didn’t take a summer vacation or go visit family on the other side of the country.
We did something new—we sheltered in place. We stayed home.
It wasn’t always easy, and it didn’t always feel natural. We missed seeing friends, family, co-workers. Our hearts longed for the things we had given up, and they ached for those who had given up far more. We worried about the people we loved, but we also worried for people we had never met. Hard subjects were discussed. Fear was admitted. Lessons were learned. The heart of our home changed and grew.
A lot of fun things happened to us this summer too. We did puzzles and played board games. We ate a lot more meals together. We took more walks and read more books. Our youngest taught himself to play the guitar. I found family I didn’t know I had (a story for another essay). There were many home beautification projects, Zooms with friends, and quiet evenings outside on the deck. We had a lot of downtime to recharge. We improved.
Then at the beginning of August, Jaime and I got married. Our wedding wasn’t exactly how we’d originally imagined it when we first considered the proposition. We didn’t have the big party with music, dancing, and friends that we had pictured. I really thought I would miss it. Turns out I didn’t. Jaime made the cake; I made my bouquet. A handful of family members joined us at the Magistrate’s office—all in masks—to witness our vows. A dear friend surprised us by decorating the outside of our house with bows and balloons. It was a day that was simply and wonderfully “us.” We ended it just the five of us—the boys, Jaime, and I—in our home, eating cake and toasting our future.
Home means a lot of different things to me and I suspect that meaning will continue to develop and evolve as the years go by. Even though the summer of 2020 hasn’t been without its changes, challenges, fears and tears, it’s had its share of love and laughter too. I believe that home has a stronger meaning to our family now than ever before. No matter what comes our way, I hope that home remains that soft space for our kids to land, even if they only do so long enough to recharge and fly off again.
New lesbian romance Let the Beat Drop by Cheri Ritz is available for pre-order now and purchase on 9/17/20