Monday, January 7, 2013


My family is currently in a major state of flux the likes of which I have not known for all of my 28 years.  Change has never been my favorite thing, and apparently neither is reevaluation of things I have been happy to take for granted.  Among these things:  home.  I can't really classify my family's current house as a "childhood home" (we moved a number of times when I was in elementary and middle school and I have warm memories set against the background of a number of houses), it is certainly as close to one as I have.  Before we moved in the house belonged to my grandmother, who bought it with my grandfather when my mom was only 18.  So even when the house wasn't ours it was part of our family: an oasis by the pool in the summer, a cozy place to spend the holidays, a treasure trove of sepia toned photos and hidden figurines and unusual musical instruments.

Right before Christmas the house went under contract.  Suddenly I saw parts of the house in stark relief; my initials in the cement of the driveway, my sisters' scribbles in the backs of closets, the "hobbit hole" in the bathroom designed mostly as a hanging space for my mom's stained glass, the quilted fabric I picked for the curtains in my bedroom, curtains hanging in the window where my husband used to throw rocks to summon me downstairs for our early morning walks before school, the living room home of my high school "playdates".  The house is full of little pieces of my history and my family.  Losing the house seemed like a symbol for everything else I was losing, for the loss of the ability to define myself and my family and my home with ease and comfort and assurance.

But there is a house and there is a home.  There is what I knew and there is what I will always know.  And I always know that I have a home in the love of my family.  I have ease and comfort in the laughter I share with my sisters.  I have assurance in the support and confidence of my parents.  The house may be a symbol, but it is a symbol of the time and investment we all made in creating memories that exist outside of walls and a ceiling.  Those pieces of history are mine to keep.

For what it's worth, the contract on the house fell through.  For a bit longer we get to surround ourselves in the comfort of a house that is still our home.  We get to take smaller steps on this new journey rather than one giant scary leap at a time.  But I will remind myself with each step that no one can take a home away from any of us as long as we remember to look for it inside ourselves and within each other.

"I'll never be a stranger and I'll never be alone.  Wherever we're together that's my home." 
Billy Joel

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