We moved a lot growing up – such is the life of pastor’s kids. Although, to be fair, we didn’t move nearly as much as some of my other PK friends. I remember 5 houses by the time I moved out on my own; my older brother probably remembers more. Since then, my parents have each lived in several places. My younger brother and his wife have lived in at least 3 and my older brother in 5 that I can think of. I’m in my 8th place, I think.
My husband’s parents, on the other hand, have been in the same house since Brad was in the 4th grade. I can see where they grew up – who had which room at which time. The house is full of stories – some my in-laws know about, others they don’t. 😉
Home is an interesting concept. I don’t have a “home” to go to anymore. I haven’t lived with either of my parents for almost 20 years. The places where they now reside have never been my home. My brothers, sister-in-law and four nieces all share a home, and even though I love them all, I don’t consider it my home. If I have to come up with a physical home, it’s where I currently live. The place that Brad and I bought two years ago – the place where we painted all the walls, decorated, built our deck – the place where we invite family and friends over and the place we rest alone. I don’t know how long we’ll be here, but I love our first home – the place, when someday, we’ll reminisce and think, “Remember when…”
If any place still exists that I could call home, it would be my grandparent’s house. My grandparents are now gone, but my uncle lives there, so every now and then I make it back for a visit. Walking through the garage door in through the kitchen door, smelling the fresh Illinois air combined with the yeast and gravy and sweet smell of my Grandma’s cheek and feeling the worn skin on my Grandpa’s hands – that, that is home. I can almost smell it now. I loved seeing the sun rising over the corn fields, almost glowing with the sun’s rays shining on the corn silk. The open windows, the breeze – it was all so fresh and inviting. All I had to do was walk in the house and my grandparent’s faces said it all: oh, we are so glad you’re here!
Aside from that modest home in central Illinois, the one off 74, over three railroad tracks and on the left, I don’t have a physical place I go back to that reminds me of my childhood. Home has taken on a new meaning as my family has changed and I’ve become an independent person. However, I have found I do have moments throughout my life, in the average day-to-day moments, that take me back home…
Home is waking up on a Saturday morning with nothing to do and no place to go – lingering in the bed a little bit longer just because I can.
Home is hearing Rosemary exclaim, “I’m so glad you’re here!” over Facetime.
Home is watching the snow fall quietly and blanket the yard, walking outside and experiencing the silence of winter, finding out that work is closed and I can settle in on the couch with a warm quilt and watch movies all day long.
Home is walking into my mom’s house and smelling a pot roast and fresh baked bread.
Home is curling up on the the couch and reading a good book – a book so good that I eventually have to turn on the light to keep reading because I just can’t put it down.
Home is laughing with my dad and brothers.
Home is watching a football game on a Sunday afternoon because I remember our house being calm and quiet then with my parents taking their obligatory after church nap.
Home is being gone for a week and coming home to Denali’s waggy tail and big smile. And then, her pout when she remembers she’s mad at me for being gone so long.
Home is baking bread and cookies.
Home is coming back to my sewing machine after being gone for a week.
Home is chili simmering on the stove on a dark, fall evening.
Home is laying on the hammock and not being able to tell the difference between my skin and the air because it’s the perfect temperature.
Home is wearing a sweatshirt the first time in the fall and sitting in front of a bonfire and watching the stars.
Although some of these moments are mine alone, many of my home moments include others – like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros sing, “Home is whenever I’m with you.” I don’t care where I am with Brad, when I’m with him, I feel home. It doesn’t matter who’s house or which state, when I spend time with my nieces, I am at home. I find myself at home when I’m with my forever friend or my youth minister or my cousins – people who knew me when, people who help me hold the stories from our shared past.
There are days I wish I had a “home” to go to like some of my friends still have – the place where I learned to walk and studied my spelling words and got ready for my first dance. It would be nice to return to that place, but it doesn’t exist. My family will never have one house full of stories to return to and maybe that’s okay – we can let go of old stories and create new ones. We have new homes with new memories – new places to call home. However, since I will never have that place, the place of the past that no longer exists, I have found new ways of finding home and usually that place is with those I love – a place where when I walk in, no matter what door or in what house, I hear, “I’m so glad you’re here!” There I am home.