Monday, February 22, 2010

Home

Pin It A recent question in one of my favorite magazines caused me to reflect on the above concept. Usually when I read this section of the magazine, I find one reader has managed to write something that either hits home for me, or makes me realize that their answer should be what I should strive to make mine. This time, however, I didn’t feel like any of them hit “home”.

I spent my childhood in one house and did most of my becoming who I am in another house. I hated leaving the first because everything about that home was perfect for a child of my age. Within a short time though, I came to appreciate the new home for what it would offer me in the new phase of my life. This was when I began to divide all events in my life into two parts. Each home was fitting to the events that occurred in and around it. But as attached as I was to the childhood house and as much as I cherish the moments in the second, the house, rather the home, that I value the most was my grandparents.

My mother grew up in a smallish, all brick house in upstate New York. This house was full of amazingly wonderful things for a child. Old games and toys, clothes, paper, books, rope…Everything that my brother and I were fascinated by. And we would stay in this house for what seemed like the entire summer. Perhaps it was the fact that these were completely un-air conditioned summers that makes them stand out so much to me, but the memories I have from this home are more clear to me than the memories from any other. My cousins and I colored together, or ran through the sprinkler, or picked and ate blackberries, or slept in nothing but our underwear with fans and wet washcloths to cool us off. Even though this house was sold several years ago and I haven’t been inside it since, I still mentally walk through it frequently when I need to feel comfort. I know every single sound that each part of it made as I made my way through. I know the feel of the door handle and the way the wooden walkway creaked, the sound of my grandmother’s slippers on the linoleum in the kitchen, the hall creaking with my grandfather’s limp and the individual and different sounds each door made. This house represented comfort and safety and times of freedom and mindlessness. I’m not sure that I will ever feel that way about another home. I think that their house represented what I thought home should always be for a person, and since it wasn’t usually that way for me, that house, those sounds and smells epitomized the idea of home.

A few years ago when I was in college I was at a church group meeting and home was also the topic of discussion. Where was home to you? Was it here at school? Was it where your parents were? What makes a place home? When it was my turn to share I offered the thought that I had often during college; home was not so much a place to me as it was being with a certain person. That I frequently felt like I was just traveling or passing through and that I was not home. I had reached a point in my life where I felt a yearning to be with someone, not somewhere and I told my friends that home to me was where my boyfriend was, even though I hated how that sounded because I never liked the way “boyfriend” lacked the true sentiment of my relationship. A couple years after that, He joked about how the “home” icon on my GPS should be set to where he was, instead of where I lived. And I told him very seriously that to me, that was my true home.
A year later, I married him.

Even though I have found myself in a completely different place which I have never been, I feel as though I am finally home.

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