I’ve lived in a lot of different houses over the years. If I remember correctly, the last place that I was sad to leave was our little farm, when I was around nine or ten years old. It wasn’t that I loved the house (it was a double wide trailer that was terrifying to be in during the many big storms that frequented our area) but I loved the animals and the woods.
I do not get very attached to our houses anymore. It’s just that – a house. A place where we live for now and will leave sooner or later. I like to decorate my room, but I don’t go into a ton of detail because I don’t think it’s worth it in the long run.
When we moved here, I got my own room for the first time ever. And I decided that I was going to do something I hadn’t done before. I’d unpack almost all of my stuff, I’d decorate, and I’d make this place mine. Even though I knew we wouldn’t be here long term (keyword: rental) I wanted my time in this room to be special.
That got me thinking about home. What does it really mean to be home? Especially for someone like me? What makes a house a home?
It’s the people you’re with. That’s the simplest and best answer that I can give you. My family is my home. Through the different states, different houses and different life experiences, we’ve been together. Whether we’re in a cold, dirty rental or the most sparkling, expensive house, if I have my family, then I’m home.
Little siblings’ laughs fill up the echoes of empty rooms. Delicious smells and warm foods are specially prepared no matter where we are. Hugs, stories, and memories. Pizza and movie night. Fall candles. Steaming cups of tea and plates of fresh baked cookies. Replays of home videos. Good books. Snail mail or an encouraging email.
Those are the things that make me feel at home. For a long time, I felt lost. I didn’t grow up in one house or town like almost everyone else I knew. My best friends didn’t live down the street and we didn’t grow up together. Grandparents lived hours away and couldn’t just come babysit on a moment’s notice. We were always the “new people” at church and in community.
I’ve come to realize that I’m not lost – I’ve never been. God’s always been with me, whether I was screaming at him in rage or laughing hysterically over some funny antic by a sibling. He’s given me the best companions for this journey. The people that surround us – our family – is not a mistake. Siblings fight, parents fight, families fight. That’s inevitable. But God’s given us those people for a specific reason.
So thanks to my parents and siblings – thanks for making my life so memorable, fun and deep. You all are the best.