Just typing the word brings to mind a complex web of meaning woven of people, places, memories and relationships.
At present, my definition of ‘home’ is one that ebbs and flows along with the tides of my life.
My brother and I were born and raised in one house, under one roof. We laughed, cried, celebrated, loved, lost and forged our lives together. And, over the years, Dad spent countless hours shaping our house into something new and different.
Dad added new rooms to the main house. He built a studio apartment with a kitchen and bathroom above the garage. He also built us a gym and an office complete with pool table, too. When I was 15 years old, Dad designed and built a pool in the backyard. What a score! Hot summers in the sun were perfect from then on!!!
Its funny to think that as our house changed, our ‘home’ always remained the same. Some of my favorite memories are of lounging with Mom around the pool. Shooting hoops with my brother out front. Cooking dinner on Sundays with the windows open and the stereo playing old Roy Orbison hits.
Recently, Mom and Dad have talked about selling the house we grew up in. It’s big. There’s a lot of land to maintain. It’s just the two of them living there now. Moving somewhere closer to the city, or closer to us, just makes sense.
I must admit, when Mom first mentioned the possibility selling, I wanted to shout “No! You can’t! That’s home…” I felt a huge pit growing in my stomach. It was as if I was already mourning a huge loss. Then it hit me, after a year of actually losing loved ones, that I have a new home now. A place where I am surrounded by the same love, support and loyalty that I knew growing up.
I left home 12 years ago, and it’s taken me this long to realize that it’s the people with you that make a house a home. I’ve wept many times longing for the normalcy of the small town I grew up in. I’ve wept while missing the familiar cadence of language in the way people speak. I’ve mourned the loss of my own identity in choosing a life where I’m an outsider.
But…I’ve also grown stronger within myself. I’m proud of who I have and am still becoming. All because my definition home has been expanding with time.
This year my brother got married to his love in Michigan and our extended family and circle of friends travelled far and wide to attend the event. While there, I truly understood for the first time that when my parents, brother and family are all together – no matter if we’re in a hotel in Detroit or having a flat white in Auckland – we are home.
Just this month, my husband and I bought our first house together. It has all the makings of a fine family home. The last owners were there for 40 years and raised their children and even some grandchildren there. I’m not sure if we will do the same, but I am certain that we will have the option to if we’d like. There’s also plenty of room for Mom and Dad to come and stay with us (forever – hint, hint).
Wherever life leads us, whatever adventures lay ahead – I am certain of one thing: as long as my family and friends are around, I am home.
Even if home is in a land of funny-talking Kiwis!!!
A powerful concept indeed.