“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”   – Maya Angelou, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes

The last few weeks have been busy ones: Thanksgiving, a visit to out-of-state family, a huge deadline at work, Christmas, my birthday, and a visit to family on the other side of the state.  It should settle a little bit now that the holidays are over (I have every intention of having a quiet night at home for New Year’s Eve). This time of year is often somewhat stressful for me (as it is for many others) because my introverted self needs a fair amount of “down time” to function well and I just don’t get enough during all the busyness of this time.  However, amidst the hustle and bustle of this year’s hectic holiday season, I am once again reminded of what home means.

“I wonder if it will be—can be—any more beautiful than this,’ murmured Anne, looking around her with the loving, enraptured eyes of those to whom ‘home’ must always be the loveliest spot in the world, no matter what fairer lands may lie under alien stars.”   – L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

I often lose sight of what home truly means.  Because I live alone, I tend to forget that home is not necessarily the place you live.  I love my new apartment, and am working on making it my own.  But the truth is, while these walls make up my “comfort zone” (the place I feel most comfortable and can be most myself), and I call it home, this is mostly just a place that I live.

Home is so much more.

Home is where a little boy tells his mom and dad he needs to help Aunt Becca get there and then is so shy he won’t go near her until she’s about to get on the plane to leave.  Where the magnetic letters on the fridge spell out SciFi references.  Where four people sitting quietly reading (while the fifth plays “Batcave” in his room) is the best companionship.  It’s what makes you fly almost 1,000 miles to go to a movie.  It’s long discussion and occasionally dissension about the movie afterwards.

Home is the place you’ll drive hours through snow and ice to get, questioning your sanity the entire time.  The place where a little girl works so hard not to wake you up early, only to wait outside the bathroom for you because she can’t wait to build Legos with you.  It’s a little hand nestled in yours on a car ride, and later that little hand waving, accompanied by a little voice calling goodbye, as you’re pulling out of the driveway .  It’s hugs that feel more like tackles, reading stories (with voices), and being used as a human chair until your foot falls asleep.  It’s laughing too hard and too loud.  It’s the Ugly Sweater Cookie Contest and sledding-induced bruises.  It’s staying up way too late, sharing struggles, joys, advice and prayers.  It’s the occasional squabble and sincere forgiveness.  It’s heartfelt gifts and the ultimate gift: time.

“I don’t care if we have our house, or a cliff ledge, or a cardboard box.  Home is wherever we all are, together.”   – James Patterson

Home is not always quiet, peaceful, or comfortable.  Sometimes it’s noisy.  Sometimes it’s confrontational.  Sometimes it is angry, or sad, or frustrating.  But it’s that place you feel you belong, and leaving it makes you sad.

Home is 30 minutes North, or 3 hours West, or I don’t know how many hours South (depends on if I drive or fly).  It’s a campground in Tennessee.  It’s the shores of Lake Michigan.  My home is my family, wherever they are.

“When I speak of home, I speak of the place where — in default of a better — those I love are gathered together; and if that place were a gypsy’s tent, or a barn, I should call it by the same good name notwithstanding.”   – Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickelby


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